United States Army
By Melchior Timmers
United States Army
After the creation of the Army Air Forces, the army ground forces retained the use of light aircraft for artillery forward observation and reconnaissance in June 1942. When the United States Air Force was established as a separate service in 1947, the army developed its light planes and rotary wing aircraft to support its ground operations. The Korean War and Vietnam War proved the growing capabilities of these aviation assets to perform a variety of missions not covered by the air force. In recognition of the demonstrated increasing importance of aviation in army doctrine and operations, aviation became a separate branch on 12 April 1983.
The mission of US Army Aviation is to find, fix, and destroy the enemy through fire and maneuver, and to provide combat, combat support and combat service support in coordinated operations as an integral member of the combined arms team. US Army bases can be found throughout the world with big concentrations in Europe and Asia.
The current fleet of helicopters consists of UH-1, MH-6, CH-47, UH-60, OH-58, UH-60, TH-67 and UH-72s. These are being kept up-to-date with modification programs. For support en troop transport the army uses C-12, C-20, C-23, C-26 and C-37 aircraft.
Below a review of the unit designations within the US Army:
Platoon (PLTN). This is the smallest unit within the Army Aviation. A Blackhawk platoon consists mostly of up to four helicopters. The boss ussually is a First Lieutenant.
Company (Com) / Troop (Trp) A company is a collection of platoons, comparable to a flight within the USAF. An Apaches unit consists of eight airframes. Three for scout/reconnaissance and five for attack purposes. Troop is the Cavalry name for a company. The boss is a Captain or Major.
Battalion (Bn) / Squadron (Sqn) This is comparable to a squadron with the USAF. An attack unit normally consist of five companies. The Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) arranges ground support, fuel and paperwork. Normally there are three flying companies (AH-64A) and an Aviation Unit Maintenance (AVUM) company for small maintenance. A General Support Aviation Battalion (GSAB) has about the same composition, but they fly the Blackhawk. C Company mostly has a special task with their Electronic Warfare EH-60As and Command and Control UH-60A(C)s. A Command (CMD) and Assault (ASLT) battalion normally consist of two companies with Blackhawks. Squadron is the Cavalry name for a battalion.
Brigade (BDE) / Group (GRP) A collection of three to five battalions is called a Brigade. This is comparable to a wing with the USAF. A Brigade is self supportive and can deploy as such. Aviation Groups have a specific task.
Division (DIV) A division consists of two or three land brigades (tanks and other vehicles), one aviation brigade, a artillery brigade and a support command division. A division consist of about ten to 18 thousand soldiers.
Corps (CORPS) A corps has no own troops but consists of units which are necessary to reach a specific goal.
Currently the overview of the US Army Army Aviation is not available, but all known aircraft and helicoters can be found in the US Army database