Normally these helicopters are based at Gilze-Rijen airbase (ICAO code EHGR) but during the exercise the Boeing AH-64 Apache’s (301 Sqaudron), Boeing CH-47 Chinook’s (298 Squadron) en AeroSpatiale AS532 Cougar’s (300 Squadron) are based during the night at nearby Fassberg airfield (ICAO code ETHS).
But during the day the helicopters are based ‘out in the fields’ at the FARP (Forward Arming and Refueling Point), were groundcrew maintained, refueled and rearmed the helicopters before and after the missions. The Bergen-Hohne training area consists of a semi-confined area, enclosed with a 65 kilometer ringroad, the ‘Panzerringstrasse’. The gunnery ranges are closed for the general public, but most roads inside the area are freely accessible. The Panzerringstrasse is used by tanks and other military vehicles, mixed by local cars, trucks and buses. This area contains some 25 gunnery ranges that are used for live firing with guns, canons, tanks and helicopters.
The 2010 exercise was a combined exercise, a live gunnery exercise for the Apache crews and a practice exercise for the Dutch students of the HWIC 'Helicopter Weapons Instructor Course' , which started last August.
During the visit to Bergen-Hohne, the HWIC did not have flying activities, only the Apache helicopters were active that day.
On gunnery range number 20, 4 Apaches flew various missions during the morning whereby they fired the 30mm canon (the Hughes M230 Chain Gun) and they fired 30mm unguided dummy missiles (regular unguided rockets without a warhead) onto groundtargets. Before firing the canon, the pilots first calibrated the cannon (called ‘bore-sighting’) with the helmet-mounted vizer.
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