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The US Army has deployed its first armored personnel carrier (APC) to Afghanistan – for the first time.
The Apache AH-64M is seen on a trailer at the Fort Campbell, Kentucky, US Marine Corps Base on 4 June 2011, as a demonstrator of the armored personnel vehicle (APC) in the western Afghan province of Kandahar. The AH-64M can support multiple roles in an expeditionary force.
The Apache APC stands a mere 19 feet (5 meters) tall. The new system will be able to transport up to seven troops from one building. This isn’t a new vehicle by any means. A company-size Apache APC was already in Afghan service in 2007.
The APC, which weighs just over 10 tons (5 metric tons), is operated by an operator wearing a commando/battalion commander’s suit, with a helmet and a full array of combat gear. This includes night vision goggles (NVGs), a laser designator sight (LAS) and a fire control system that allows for tactical and general-purpose communications.
One of America’s first armored units, the AH-64M, was designed primarily to combat small-arms fire from Taliban fighters and other enemy forces. It is also used to protect personnel in other theaters as well.
The new vehicle can be equipped with a variety of weapons including air- and grenade-launchers, rocket-propelled grenades, mine-clearing and remote-controlled machine guns. The new APC is the first of three new vehicles being fitted to the US-led coalition’s counter-terror mission over the next two years.
The AH-64M was originally produced through the US Marine Corps’ Armored Brigade Combat Team. It is used to train and equip Afghan forces, as well as coalition forces in support or training missions.
It is estimated that the AH-64M has a crew of eight to 10 people, although it is unclear how many soldiers in total have been assigned to it.
This week’s deployment comes as the US-led coalition prepares to leave Afghanistan, in the midst of a prolonged combat mission that is still focused on defeating the Taliban and other terrorist groups. A full-time force of 50,000 American troops will remain in the country for the next few years.
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