Taking Flight

<p>Apache Helicopter</p>

Apache Helicopter

Missile fire could be heard ringing through the Yakima Training Center all morning.

U.S. Army and Japanese military pilots are taking part in live hellfire missile training.

"Those guys are really professional, really competent pilots," said Cpt. Ryan Garrow, one of the pilots, "It's always good to work with another nation and get some teamwork done."

It's part of an annual training operation, called "Rising Thunder," it's an exercise the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force takes part in every year.

"This exercise is meaningful for us, because we can conduct firing training and we can train with the U.S. Army," said Maj. Niho Tomoaki, a pilot.

In this scenario two helicopters are called in to strike a target; one electronically paints the target by marking it on a computer, while the other uses those coordinates to pinpoint the missile strike.

This is the first time between both nations that they've hosted a live hellfire training exercise using Apache helicopters.

"I think that it's important that we build on the successes of previous years, and what you're seeing this year is that we've built on what we've learned last year and added some more into this such as the hellfire," said Major General Stephen Lanza, "We'll do a combined arms A.A.R. After this, after review so that we can pass lessons learned to each other, discuss some techniques and procedures and learn on how we've operated their apaches and ours together."

"Knowing that we have such a close friend ally that has the same capabilities as we do, and can operate at the same level as our Apache pilots is good to know," said Cpt. Garrow.