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US Army Aviation Branch to Expand Force Structure

US Army Aviation

The Army wants more CH-47 Chinooks in the 101st Airborne Division and is pitching it for consideration as part of a Total Army Analysis of force structure growth.

The U.S. Army aviation branch wants to expand force structure and is also proposing some strategic options included in a bigger service analysis.

Specifically, the Army really wants to add a CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopter battalion towards the 101st Airborne Division and also submit its 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, potentially to full capacity, in Europe, based on Maj. Gen. Frank Tate. The director of aviation with the Pentagon with all the Army’s operations, plans and training branch was talking with attendees in the Army Aviation Association of America’s annual summit.

Driving major force structure alterations in the Army include the service’s new top six modernization priorities in addition to new operating concepts and doctrine, who have already influenced some force structure growth, such as the addition of security force assistance brigades towards the Army. The first unit recently deployed to Afghanistan.

And Army aviation wants in on those growth opportunities.

“There are a handful of areas in Army aviation we think potentially should be reconsidered for force structure growth,” Tate said.

“We are really short today on CH-47 organizations in a position to deploy in companies simply ongoing operations,” he was quoted saying. “We just stood a plus-up in Afghanistan of aviation, and yes it was very hard for us to locate CH-47s.”

As an end result, Army aviation leaders are submitting the proposal to provide two companies worth of CH-47s to the 101st to compete with other priorities inside the Total Army Analysis.

“This is not a promise it’s feasible whatsoever, but we feel, a minimum of from an Army aviation perspective, that is a very wise usage of force structure growth,” he was quoted saying, that is intended to give the aviation branch more capacity and meet requirements around the world.

“It also returns towards the 101st Airborne, a chance to move a brigade combat team in the amount of darkness, containing always been one in the great, unique capabilities with the 101st Airborne Division,” he added.

But, Tate reiterated, the proposed additional force structure must compete with other priorities, “and we will always keep that energized in the coming years and maybe you’ll be able.”

The Army has additionally been weighing if they should submit its 12th CAB for quite some time, but a ramp up of rotational CABs in Europe and so on the Korean Peninsula might be sparking a renewed push to grow back capacity.

“We’ve also checked out aviation in Europe,” Tate said. “Right now we rotate a CAB through Europe to hold the correct degree of aviation support there to get a deterrent effect.”

The Army will have to assess if it’s planning to continue on a rotational model, “which may be necessary depending on the inability to develop what we must.”

Or the Army could grow back capacity inside 12th CAB, containing a partial general support aviation battalion there now, Tate said, adding the opportunity to round that out would be “relatively easy.”

Then-U.S. Army Europe Commander Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges reiterated in 2017 that while it could be nice to experience a forward-stationed CAB by restoring the 12th CAB to its full-sized, money and assets will have to are derived from someplace else. “I’m not holding my breath,” Hodges said in the time.

Tate suggested rounding out to the full CAB headquarters, adjusting several personnel and stationing it in Europe, which would counter the should rotate a complete CAB into theater.

He added the Army could also build an assault battalion in Europe.

“These possibilities exist because we have aircraft that could make that happen; even though we’ve those aircraft, we now have to decide we are likely to take action that way or organic beef change and divest a few aircraft that individuals have that may have filled that function,” Tate said. “These are questions that individuals take care of.”

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