By Emily Howard

Killeen Daily Herald

FORT HOOD The 4th Infantry Division has just received its newest high-tech weapon: the Armys most advanced helicopter.

The 4th Infantry Divisions 1st Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment unveiled its first AH-64D Apache Longbow Lot 8 helicopter during a ceremony at the 1-4 Regiment Hangar on the east side of Fort Hood.

This is now the most technologically advanced attack battalion in the world, said Col. Donald MacWillie, commander of the aviation brigade, 4th Infantry Division. This is a milestone for the Dragon battalion.

Twenty-eight of the new, more advanced Lot 8 helicopters will replace the battalions current Lot 6 helicopters.

MacWillie called the Lot 8 the centerpiece of the battalions lethality.

Maj. Gen. James Thurman, commanding general of the 4th Infantry Division, took delivery of the new Lot 8 aircraft from the Boeing production facility at Mesa, Ariz., in August.

Advancements in the new Apache helicopter include a digital map, satellite imagery, a larger, more user-friendly display and high-frequency radio.

It will allow us to operate faster and more precisely than ever before, MacWillie said.

The soldiers of the aviation battalion will begin to train on the new helicopters immediately, so if they have to deploy again, they will be ready, MacWillie said.

If we have to take the fight back to the enemy, we will dominate the battle space, he said.

MacWillie said the new helicopter would increase communication and accuracy and reduce soldiers workload.

This is a magnificent warship and we welcome it to Fort Hood, he said.

The ceremony included the arrival of the aircraft to the hangar and presentation of the keys and logbook to Lt. Col. Michael Rapavi, 1-4 Aviations commander.

In March of 2003, 1-4 Aviation deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where it conducted sustained combat operations for one year.

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