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AH-64 Apache

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AH-64 Apache Helicopter

Boeing AH-64 Apache
Description
RoleAttack
Crew2 — one pilot, one co-pilot/gunner (CPG)
Dimensions
Length17.7 m (58.3 ft) with rotors
Wingspan4.9 m (16.3 ft)
Height3.87 m (12.7 ft)
Wing area5.227 m (17.15 ft)
Weights
Empty5,165 kg (11,387 lb)
Loaded8,006 kg (17,650 lb)
Max take-off9,525 kg (21,000 lb)
Powerplant
Engines2 × GE T700 Turboshafts
Power1,238 kW (1,660 shp)
Performance
Maximum speed365 km/h (197 kt)
Combat range482 km (260 n miles)
Ferry range1,900 km (1,025 n miles)
Service ceiling6,400 m (21,000 ft)
Rate of climb760 m/min (2,500 ft/min)
Armament
GunsM230 30mm automatic cannon, 1200 rds
MissilesHellfire/Hellfire II (and Stinger, Starstreak,
Sidewinder/Sidearm proposed)
RocketsHydra 70, FFAR
Missing image
AH-64_dsc04578.jpg

The Boeing IDS AH-64 Apache Helicopter is the US Army's principal attack helicopter, the successor to the AH-1 Cobra.

The US Army issued a request for proposals (RFP) in 1972 for an Advanced Attack Helicopter (AAH). From an initial list of 5 manufacturers Hughes Aircraft's Toolco Aircraft Division (later Hughes Helicopters) and Bell were selected as finalists. Hughes' Model 97/YAH-64 was selected over Bell's Model 409/YAH-63 in 1976. First flight of a development prototype occurred on September 30 1975 but it was not until 1982 that a production contract was signed. In 1983 the first production helicopter was rolled out at Hughes Helicopter's facility at Mesa, Arizona. In 1984 Hughes Helicopters was purchased by McDonnell Douglas for $500,000,000. This became Boeing Helicopters with the merger of McDonnell Douglas and Boeing in 1996.

Two major models of AH-64 Apache are in service in the US Army; AH-64A and AH-64D. B- and C-variants were manufactured but never entered service. A number of other models have been derived from both AH-64A and AH-64D for export. The British Westland WAH-64 is based on the AH-64D with several improvements.

Built to endure front-line environments, it can operate during the day or night and in adverse weather using the integrated helmet and display sight system. The Apache is also equipped with some of the latest avionics and electronics, such as the Target Acquisition Designation Sight, Pilot Night Vision System (TADS/PNVS), Black Hole passive infrared countermeasures, nap-of-earth navigation, and GPS.

Original unit cost for the AH-64A was about US$14.5 million. In September 2003, Greece ordered 12 AH-64D for a total cost of $675 million (presumably including weapons and support), indicating a gross unit cost for the AH-64D of $56.25 million.

The advanced model, the AH-64D Apache Longbow, is equipped with an improved sensor suite and weapon systems. The key improvement over the A-variant is the Longbow Fire Control Radar dome installed over the main rotor. The elevated position of the radome allows detection and (arcing) missile engagement of targets even when the helicopter itself is concealed by an obstacle (e.g. terrain, trees or buildings). Further, a radio modem integrated with the sensor suite allows a D-variant Apache to share targetting data with other AH-64Ds and AH-64As that do not have a line-of-sight to the target. In this manner a group of Apaches can engage multiple targets but only reveal the radome of one D-variant Apache.

Contents

Combat Operations

Apache AH-64 and AH-64D have played important roles in several Middle Eastern wars, including the Gulf war, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq. The Apaches were proven to be excellent tank hunters and also destroyed hundreds of armored vehicles (mainly of the Iraqi army).

Recent reports indicate that the helicopter is vulnerable; of craft deployed in Afghanistan in 2001-02 over 80% were badly damaged by ground fire. This may be due to the fact that the Apache is usually placed closest to the threat systems in a combat environment. The Apache is also rated as being the most survivable of all military helicopters. The vast majority of Apache helicopters that have taken heavy combat damage have been able to continue their assigned missions and return safely to their bases.

The Israeli Air Force uses the Apaches as a high-tech platform to perform precision strikes with guided missiles against terrorist targets. The AH-64A attacked and destroyed dozen of Hizbullah's outposts in Lebanon during the 90's, attacking in all weather conditions both day and night. During the al-Aqsa Intifada, the IAF used the Apaches to target senior Palestinian terrorists (mainly those of Hamas) with guided missiles.

Films

The Apache made an appearance in two movies (both of which did not do well in the box office). The 1990 movie Fire Birds (or Wings of the Apache) starring Nicholas Cage, Tommy Lee Jones, and Sean Young. And the 1998 American remake of Godzilla, in which the AH-64 was modified by the movies designers to carry weapon systems not implemented by the US Army, in particular the Sidewinder missile.

See also

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External links


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