Together with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment OPFOR, the aircrews of B Company, 2916th Aviation Battalion provide the U.S. Army (and sometimes allied and other U.S. forces) with a credible enemy threat on the simulated battlegrounds of the National Training Center at Fort Irwin.

Thanks to the Wings Over Iraq blog I came across an interesting article on the VERTICLE magazine website today about the OPFOR helicopter force at Fort Irwin, California, and their transition from the venerable old UH-1H Iroquois (aka, “Huey”) to the new UH-72A Lakota.

VISMOD (Visual Modification) Hueys had been used for many years by Ft. Irwin’s OPFOR units but were officially retired in December of 2011.

Interestingly, although the US Army had a few Sikorsky S-55 helicopter converted to more realistic VISMODs of the Soviet Mi-24, these only saw limited use as target drones and were not part of the Ft. Irwin OPFOR wing.

Meanwhile, vaguely convincing VISMODs of the Soviet Mi-24 were also “made by Hollywood”, based on Aérospatiale Puma helicopters and used in several movies; including Red Dawn, Rambo II and Rambo III.

Meanwhile down on the ground, you might be wondering about that tracked vehicle pictured in the photo at the top of this article…  Its a VISMOD M113 OSV (OPFOR Surrogate Vehicle).  In other words, its an M113 which has been treated with some visual modifications to enable it to appear as a surrogate for a Soviet BMP armored personnel carrier / infantry fighting vehicle.

But, now, without further adieu – enjoy the article


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