An AH-64D Longbow Apache helicopter lands during a combined arms demonstration as part of South Carolina National Guard Air & Ground Expo 2009 at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Oct. 10, 2009. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Roberto Di Giovine)

More than a year after the Army ordered the inspection of a critical safety part in every AH-64 Apache aircraft in the service's fleet, soldiers have spent the equivalent of nine months in extra man-hours retrofitting the airframe so far, a task that has "crash landed" back on combat readiness, a top Army official said on Monday.

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An artist's depiction of the S-97 Raider light tactical prototype (Lockheed Martin)

Undeterred by decades of failure, the U.S. Army is trying again to acquire a new scout helicopter. The new rotorcraft is supposed to restore the dedicated aerial scout mission the Army gave up when in 2017 it retired its roughly 300 Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior copters.

And here's a surprise. The new Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft also will replace half of the ground-combat branch's 700 Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters.

Aviation Week reporter Stephen Trimble was the first to report the news. Joseph Trevithick at The War Zone piled on.

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If you had asked me a month ago if I was a particular fan of helicopters, I would have rolled my eyes. But that was before I saw this cool-as-hell send-off video for the 4-6 Heavy Attack Reconnaissance Squadron Apache unit.

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An AH-64D Longbow Apache helicopter lands during a combined arms demonstration as part of South Carolina National Guard Air & Ground Expo 2009 at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Oct. 10, 2009. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Roberto Di Giovine)

Welcome to Confessions Of, an occaisional series where Task & Purpose's James Clark solicits hilarious, embarrassing, and revealing stories from troops and vets about their job, billet, or a tour overseas. Are you in an interesting assignment and think you might have something to share? Email james@taskandpurpose.com with your story.

"Nothing is more powerful than a young boy's wish. Except an Apache helicopter. An Apache helicopter has machine guns and missiles. It is an unbelievably impressive complement of weaponry, an absolute death machine."

While this Patrick Stewart quote may be from an R-rated movie about a talking teddy bear, it's remarkably accurate. After all, the old warhorse has been kicking ass since it was first adopted by the U.S. Army in the 1980s. Designed to get into trouble fast and put it down even faster, the AH-64 Apache usually comes bristling with ordnance, from an M230 chain gun firing 30mm rounds to Hellfire missiles and rockets.

In the words of Tyler Merritt "it's basically a fucking flying tank."

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The competition to be the next Army helicopter is heating up. On June 20th, Sikorsky's S-97 Raider once again took flight completing a 90-minute demonstration, the first since an August 2017 crash caused by flight software errors grounded the program

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Monday, May 21, marks the start of All American Week at Fort Bragg, a celebration of all things Americana leading up to Memorial Day weekend.

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