The year 2018 has started on an inauspicious note for the US Army when an Apache attack helicopter, which took off from the military base at Fort Irwin developed a snag and crashed. Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jason S Brown has confirmed the accident that led to the death of two soldiers. The news of the crash and the deaths have been reported by Reuters.

Army confirms

The army has confirmed that the plane was carrying no passengers and only had the pilot and co-pilot on board. Both have been killed and it is the first fatal casualty of 2018. It was learned that the plane was on a routine training sortie before it crashed.

The crew and the gunship were based in Fort Carson, Colorado and were attached to the 4th Army Division. The crew had come to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin for practice and follow-up training. The names of the pilots have not been announced, pending informing the NOK.

The aircraft, an Apache AH-64 that crashed, is one of the top helicopter gunships of the US army. Its basic role is supporting troops in tactical battle as well as counterinsurgency operations. It's a versatile war machine and has been in service with the US army since 1984. The Indian army has contracted to buy a significant number of Apache gunships recently. The Boeing web site confirms that 2200 of these machines have been built and supplied to the US armed forces and other militaries of the world.

Crash cause

The cause of the crash is not yet known but a board of inquiry has been ordered.

This will investigate the cause of the crash [VIDEO], as an accident in peacetime and loss of trained aircrew is unacceptable in any armed force. Accidents during peacetime, especially when combatants are killed, are taken seriously, as can be seen from the news that the Captains of the two US Navy [VIDEO] destroyers, that collided in the high sea resulting in 17 deaths, have been recommended for court-martial under the UMC.

The Apache -64 named after a warrior Red Indian tribe lives up to its name and has been used successfully in Iraq and Afghanistan. The aircraft has day and night fighting capability with special optical and night vision devices. The aircraft is a resilient machine and can take heavy punishment and is durable to the extent that it can withstand rounds of the caliber of 23 mm.

Future

The US army will await the findings of the inquiry to try and pinpoint the cause of the accident and take remedial action. Considering the track record of the aircraft during the last three decades, the cause of the accident as "pilot error" cannot be ruled out.