US army grounds all army flights, pilots after two fatal crashes

The US Army’s chief of staff has grounded all army flights and pilots not involved in critical missions until aviation squadrons complete required training after two deadly helicopters crashed in a matter of weeks, causing multiple deaths.

The grounding of the pilots and flights comes after 12 soldiers died in two separate midair collisions as they were under training missions.

On Thursday, two Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopters collided in Alaska, killing three soldiers, and injuring the fourth.

Earlier, in Kentucky, two Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks crashed late last month, leaving nine dead and no survivors, four in one helicopter and five in the other.

“The safety of our aviators is our top priority, and this stand-down is an important step to make certain we are doing everything possible to prevent accidents and protect our personnel,” General James McConville, the Army’s chief of staff, said in a statement on Friday.

“During this stand-down, we will focus on safety and training protocols to ensure our pilots and crews have the knowledge, training, and awareness to safely complete their assigned mission,” he added in the statement.

For the active-duty units, the training is set to begin as early as Monday and would focus on topics including risk mitigation, maintenance, and flight planning, according to the army statement.

The active-duty units are required to complete their training by May 5, meanwhile, the army national guard and Reserve units will have to complete the training until May 31.

The units can resume flights after completing the daylong training.

The US military has seen multiple crashes of military aircraft in recent years despite its state-of-the-art military R&D and massive amounts of the allocated military budget, which stands at $1.98 trillion for the financial year 2023.

One of last year’s major incidents was the time when four US Marines were killed during NATO exercises in Norway when their V-22B Osprey aircraft went down.

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