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Boeing’s been hawking the Apache Guardian as the combat soldier’s BFF ever since ever. With its ability to control unmanned aerial vehicles, the AH-64E variant is one helicopter to rule them all. Speaking of rulers, here we see England’s Prince Harry co-piloting one of these bad boys over the RAF Cosford Airshow 2013. “He was what they call the front seater,” ruefully admits, “so he wasn’t actually flying but they were doing a very good display.” Bully for him! The chopper could use a little positive PR of its own given the trial of Bradley Manning, the Army private who released the video of the “gung-ho” Apache crew mowing down civilians (by mistake) in Iraq . With a Hughes M230 Chain Gun, FWIW.

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    • My thoughts exactly. I just recently bought a “Cyberdine Systems Inc” from 6 dollar T shirts. Only guys understand the reference so far. As bad as people can be in law enforcement and the military, I’d much rather have humans in the loop than machine operation. A drone hack or malfunction could indeed be very bad.

  1. Watch the video closely and you’ll see the weapons the “civilians” are carrying, small arms and at least one RPG. Starting at around 3:40, you can see several men walking about with AKs, and the pilots reporting it. The reporter was embedded with insurgents, and got tagged in the strike. All the furor over that vid was either straight up lies (the “civilians” were unarmed) or based on the fact that people didn’t like the gallows humor of the pilots. Bullshit top to bottom.

    • You are right. It was bullshit that we had troops and an Apache in Iraq. Those people were armed in their own nation. We had no damn business being there and no damn right to kill those men, PERIOD.

      Say the president decides he wants to give America a “glorious People’s Democratic Republic”, so he invites China in to help the change. A group of Americans are armed and walking down the street and a Chinese gunship blows the hell out of them and the EMS crew coming to their aid. Under YOUR rules of engagement the Chinese are justified in doing that.

      We need to defend America, that means bringing all of our troops home. Ending ALL alliances and all aid to every other nation. Put America first and let the rest of the world sleep in the bed it has made.

      • Under every rules of engagement, if the Chinese had invaded America, they would be justified in shooting armed civilians. Perhaps you are confusing ROE with Just War Theory? My point was that the scandal was a manufactured one, and only worked because civilians don’t like the way soldiers talk amongst themselves. This is not about support for or opposition to the war. The war is a fact, and under the rules of that fact, soldiers have the right to tag armed civilians setting up ambushes for the patrol you could hear the pilots talking to. You don’t have to like the war, but that doesn’t make everything that happens in it immoral or illegal.

  2. It’s clear when you watch the video that the people are armed. Nothing much more to say, but the media loves to make a good story.

    • Armed in their own nation. Or were the Germans right in shooting the French Resistance?

      • Where the Americans right in shooting the Germans in France during ww2? After all, America had not been invaded.

        • If the average GI in 1945 was given a time capsule to visit today, they might have defected to the SS.

          • You must have a low opinion of the average GI to figure that a look at the future would cause them to join the SS. Maybe a look to the future could have casued them to change that future without joining those that shoveled people into ovens.

            • Just a thought, unlike Obamacare it wont punish you or steal your kids DNA.

              Without revisiting the entirety of WW2 and its repercussions, we are facing the same kind of demagogue today who imperils an entire planet not just a select group.

            • We need to ask if our society is doing right by the GI that won WWII, not the flower child of the 60’s.

              That’s my aphorism for the day.

      • As soldiers or the politicians who started the war and gave the orders? There’s a very good reason why the rules of warfare are pretty harsh on armed civilians. It’s to protect civilians, which sounds counterintuitive until you think about it. There are harsh penalties in place for soldiers who kill unarmed civilians on purpose. An armed insurgency endangers all civilians by making everyone a possible target. In the presence of a lot of armed insurgent groups, soldiers will quite rightly be highly suspicious of civilians, and honest mistakes will happen. I mind one time a procession of vehicles pulled up outside a US military FOB in Iraq and every vehicle stuck a couple AKs out the side and started shooting. After the firing died down, turns out that’s how they celebrate weddings. Tragic, but you can’t expect soldiers to take direct fire and debate the intricacies of matrimonial culture and natural rights. War is not peace. And those of us who have experienced it know it well enough to value the option.

  3. I thought the freedom to own and carry the weapon of your choice was a natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, and civil right, subject neither to the democratic process nor to arguments grounded in social utility?

    Apparently not, if it can be used to justify a sky-murder.

    • Self defense is a natural right. War is pretty much the opposite of natural rights, so looking for bunnies and rainbows in it is not going to be very productive. War is the process whereby one group of people systematically and violently crushes the “natural rights” of another group, presumably in the service of some higher goal (more land, resources, revenge, ‘freedom, w/e). This is justified morally only as a stop against greater threats to natural rights (to fight off invasion, enforce treaties, stop genocide, etc.). War, like government, is a necessary evil. To hold its evil against it is silly and morally infantile. Yes, people get killed in war for things they wouldn’t in peacetime. Your grasp of the obvious is mighty.

  4. Back in 2009 my battalion participated in an exercise, Javelin Thrust, which took place in the Mountains of California, namely the Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport. I thought it was some of the best training I’d ever had.

    One of the new things I saw being tested there was an unmanned helicopter that was designed to deliver supplies to a unit in the field. It had some bugs, like when I watched it dump its cargo a few hundred yards from the end of the runway, but it was very promising from what I could tell.

    But I think it was a horrible idea. How is that supposed to make me feel that the government is sticking my butt out in such a dangerous place that no one wants to risk flying or driving over to bring food and ammo? If it’s safe enough for me to be there, then it’s safe enough for you to come and bring me things.

    I don’t like this mentality of trying to make the military less dangerous for us. I think we should concentrate on making us more dangerous to others. Instead we seem to go out of our way to make sure our enemies and the people who support them aren’t inconvenienced. And we give them money.

    • I’ll guess the Boeing toy. One available in gsaxcess if your gov’t/state/city is interested. Perhaps for waterdrop on wildfire?

      UAVs are gimics/toys. ban them.

      • Two Marines in my battalion were killed by a drone attack that the Marine Corps swept under the rug. Regarding drones, we have abandoned the time tested methods of close air support and have fully embraced the air force methods that divorce the attack order from the person directly on the ground.

        But the full red-faced anger of the investigating officer when questioned on these basic ideas made it clear that no one cares that counts.

        I do think that drones are good for reconnaissance because the loiter time is greatly increased and the cost is lower, but not for attacks and not for resupply.

    • That doesn’t make sense. Maybe it’s my bias, but I’m much more comfortable on the ground, with holes to dive in and trees to use for cover than I am in a low-flying chopper. If supply drone means that the higher-ups are more likely to send a load of much-needed ammo into a hot LZ for me, then I’ll take that any day.

  5. It is hard to watch, but it is war, and civilian casualties, while terrible, are going to happen. When you see the up close and personal pictures of insurgents in Iraq and freedom fighter in Syria, it is war journalists who snap the up close pics. When you are arms length from a man with an RPG, don’t be surprised if bad things happen. Also, to add context this was July 2007 and the surge was going on in Iraq, tensions were high and the conflict was at its peak. Plus the men gathered with weapons looking around did look allot like insurgents massing for a fight. Whether or not we should have been in Iraq is irrelevant once we are engaged in Iraq. At that point in time we are at war and the troops duty is to fight to win. The politicians and pundits can navel gaze and decide whether or not we should still be there.

  6. Took me a minute on the title today. I kept thinking “Boeing wouldn’t actually go and nickname an Apache UCAV ‘Soldiers Heart’ would they? that’s damn insensitive…”

  7. Your headline is misleading. I can’t find anything in the linked articles nor any other location regarding the Apache that indicates it is slated to become an unmanned aerial vehicle. The weapons officer may have the ability to control other UAV’s but that’s different.

  8. I have little patience for the Wikileaks jerks who edited that video to make it look like the helo attacked “civilians” instead of a party of armed insurgents (accompanied by a pair of journalists) a quarter-mile from an ongoing battle. Regardless of people’s opinions about the rationales for the war, that crew did its job responsibly and doesn’t deserve to be slandered.

  9. Maybe I’m wrong about this, but I think that a lot of bad sh1t happens in war. Okay, I’m not wrong. Fratricide, homicide, suicide. Innocent civilians are killed by accident and on purpose. Lies are told and accepted. Coverups abound. Good people do bad things. Bad people do worse things. A school is blown up because somebody thought it was a bunker. A bunker isn’t blown up because somebody thought it was a school. Either way, people die.

    Yeah, war svcks. Always has. Always will. It’s better not to fight them. Unless you have to, and even then war still svcks. We all know this, yet there’s still the hand-wringing when something happens in a war that we all know is going to happen in a war. It seems insane to me that anyone expects an antiseptic war.

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