09 May 2010

Next up...

Posting may be hit-or-miss for the next month or so. I'll be moving to southern Germany, where I'll be working at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels. The JMRC hosts excellent multi-national training for our European and NATO allies, including conferences on defeating improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and hands-on-training in the US Army's new Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicles. You can follow JMRC's latest news on Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter (not very active).

The most notable development at JMRC is the arrival of the US Army's newest helicopter, the LUH-72A Lakota. In fact, I received an e-mail this week from one of my captains' career course classmates, noting that the aircraft arrived just two weeks ago, and they still have that new helicopter smell to them.

The Lakota will replace the aging UH-1 Huey and OH-58C aircraft, performing observer/controller duties for training exercises, VIP transport, aeromedevac, and administrative duties. The Lakota is an "off-the-shelf" design--the US Army simply bought the excellent Eurocopter 145, which serves in police departments, air ambulance detachments, and rescue services all over the world.

In a bizarre twist of fate, Eurocopter purchased the design, which was originally named the Bk-117, from Messerschmitt and Kawasaki. For those needing a brief history lesson, both Messerschmitt and Kawasaki were infamous for producing top-of-the-line fighter aircraft for the German Luftwaffe and Japanese military. Gotta love that post-WW2 capitalistic boom!

Anyway, JMRC's Public Affairs Office released a video of the Lakota's unveiling in Hohenfels, as well as pictures on Flickr.

Initially, I was a little disappointed to leave the US, as I doubted the German Army's ability to produce hilarious dance videos. I had this jingoistic view of the world, believing that only American can produce military music videos. But fear not, thanks to
Tom Rid at Kings of War, I realize that the German Luftwaffe can get down with their American counterparts, as evidenced by this video of German troops singing a song about "getting a lasso out". ("Lasso", heh heh heh...) Of course, these sorts of music videos should be relatively simple to make--after all, the Germans do have beer in Uzbekistan.

I particularly like the footage of them driving along the flight line with no seat belts, and the dance moves on top of the C-27 with no reflector belts.


Anonymous said...

good luck with your move! I hope it all goes smoothly.

Anonymous said...

Safe travels!

hwilker said...

Welcome to Germany, and have lots of fun with the local beers...

A couple of nit-picking comments:

The design of the Lakota's forerunner, the BK-117, was not so much purchased from Messerschmitt. Rather, MBB - a merger of Messerschmitt and two other firms - was further merged into ever-bigger aerospace firms: first German DASA, then European Eurocopter. It still seems to sport a hingeless rotor system; this was developed by Bölkow, one of the "B"s in MBB.

And the Luftwaffe reflector-less dance moves are occurring, as far as I can see, on a C-160 Transall (another product of European aerospace industrial cooperation), not on a C-27. Visit a friendly Luftwaffe Fliegerhorst, like Penzing/Landsberg (ETSA), Wunstorf (ETNW) or Hohn (ETNH) to check them out at close range :)