The primary method for uploading and downloading ammo into the AH-64D/E’s sideloader is AUTO MODE. The sideloader/magazine controller (SMC) manual mode is used only when the AUTO MODE doesn’t work. Just be sure you follow the IETM instructions to the letter so you can stay safe.
If you cut corners when using the SMC manual mode, you could damage the ammunition handling system, which allows you to override non-fatal sideloader failures and errors. Plus, the SMC will ignore certain input signals even with no failures or errors.
When operating SMC, make sure to always disengage and turn off the gun prior to re-clutching it. If you don’t, the sideloader clutch is still engaged and will cause the right hand elbow sprocket to twist. That means you’ll have to replace it.
It also throws off the timing and may damage the carriers and the sideloader, causing function problems with the ammo handling system (AHS).
When the mission is complete, make appropriate form entries so the AHS can be diagnosed and repaired and the AUTO MODE restored. When you’re preparing to dry fire or cycle the 30mm gun, always make sure the SMC switch is disengaged and not left in the AUTO or MANUAL MODE.
When performing the gun system maintenance operational check (MOC), dummy rounds are fed through the system and down to the gun. When cycling dummy rounds, leave the gun door open and let the rounds fall out into a container with foam cushioning in it.
This keeps your dummy rounds in tip-top shape for longer use. Dummy rounds that hit the ground get damaged and become unstable.
As a safety precaution, always stand clear of the turret and gun area during the MOC. The turret and gun can swing around very fast. The barrel can take you out if you’re standing too close.