AH-64D Apache Longbow
Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: AH Mk1, AH-64D-I Apache, AH-64DHA Apache Longbow, AH-64DJP Apache Longbow, Apache AH1, Block I Apache, Block II Apache and WAH-64
Origin: United States of America
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Description: The AH-64 Apache is a twin-turbine engine, armored, attack helicopter was designed to defeat the most advanced main battle tanks at standoff ranges. It employs a combination of advanced sensors and Hellfire anti-tank missiles (up to 16), as well as a 30mm nose-mounted M230 chain gun (1,200 rounds) and 70mm (up to 76) unguided rockets. It is capable of operation at night, in darkness, and in adverse weather, even in presence of obscurants.
In 1991 the AH-64As played a vital role destroying Iraqi armored battle tanks stationary and moving. They were deployed for the first time in Panama during operation Just Cause in 1989 and subsequently in other military campaigns with less impact than during the Gulf War. Recently, during operation Iraqi Freedom they provided close air support to American armored units while they were deploying throughout Iraq.
The AH-64D Apache Longbow is the last improved derivative of the combat-proven AH-64A Apache attack helicopter. The Longbow radar is the only difference between the AH-64D and the Apache Longbow helicopter. It features 400% more lethality over current AH-64As, 720% more survivable, can hit moving and stationary targets in presence of obscurants when optical systems are rendered ineffective, can use multiple sensors, the Longbow radar detects and classifies up to 128 targets prioritizing the 16 most dangerous of them, and only needs 3.4 hours-man of maintenance per flight hour. It is compatible with the digitized battlefield of the 21st century.
The United Kingdom acquired 67 Apache Longbow under the WAH-64 (AH Mk1) designation. The WAH-64 features different engines (RTM322) and Starstreak missiles instead of Stinger, as well as other minor changes. Japan seeks up to 80 Longbow Apache beginning in 2005, but it has not been confirmed yet. More than 1,100 AH-64 helicopters have been delivered to date and Boeing expects to buy up to 1,000 Apaches during this decade.
The AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter was deployed in 1998 and the US Army ordered to upgrade up to 501 existing AH-64As to the Apache Longbow configurations by 2006. Other Apache customers worldwide (Singapore, Japan, Israel, Egypt and Kuwait) are also upgrading their existing AH-64As to more capable Longbow Apache configuration. The last Apache derivative can accommodate up to 4 Stinger air-to-air missiles and the latest fire and forget Hellfire missile version.
In the late 1990s Singapore ordered eight Apache Longbow multi-role helicopters which were delivered to the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) in 2002. In 2001 Singapore ordered 12 additional helicopters through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program with RSAF receiving the first aircraft in January 2006.
In August 2001, The Japan Defense Agency (JDA) selected the AH-64D Apache attack helicopter for the land arm of Japanese Defense Force (JDF). The deal included between 60 and 80 AH-64Ds powered by General Electric T700-GE-701C engines and up to 23 Longbow fire control radars. The aircraft and related equipment will be procured over a 10-year period with final assembly to be carried out in Japan under a licensed production program. Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) handed over the first Longbow Apache to the Japanese government on March 15 2006.
In 2003, Greece became the latest Longbow Apache customer purchasing 12 with four additional aircraft as options. Greece was already an operator of AH-64A Apache attack helicopters.
Following the RAH-66 Comanche cancellation, the US Army selected the Apache as the attack helicopter for the objective force associated to the Future Combat Systems program. This decision will keep the Apache Longbow in active service for the next three decades. The next round of Apache enhancements, sometimes referred to as Block III, will include a new composite rotor blade, JTRS radio system, improved drive system, and cognitive decision-aiding software.
The government of Israel accepted its first three AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters from the US Department of Defense (DoD) via foreign military sales program in a ceremony held in Israel on April 10, 2005. These aircraft will be operated by the Israel Air Force under AH-64D-I Apache designation. Israel expects to use a combination of modernized AH-64As, which already operates, and new-build AH-64Ds. The exact number of AH-64D-Is to be delivered to Israel was not disclosed but it could surpass 21 units.
The first British regiment equipped with the Apache AH Mk I helicopter was cleared for operational use on May 25, 2005, after completing exercise Eagles Strike on 24 May. The 9th Regiment Army Air Corps was assigned to the UK 16 Air Assault Brigade. In parallel, the UK MoD awarded AgustaWestland a £300 million contract to provide Apache support for four years and to retrofit the entire fleet with M-TADS/PNVS sensor. Lockheed-Martin received a $212 million contract for the supply of M-TADS/PNVS. Flight trials of such a sensor on the UK Apache were expected by 2007. The first four British Apaches equipped with M-TADS/PNVS were scheduled for delivery to the UK MoD in January 2009 and the entire fleet retrofit completion was scheduled by the end of 2010.
In mid-August 2005, Boeing officially delivered the first of 16 AH-64D Apache Longbow to the government of Kuwait. The government of Kuwait ordered the AH-64D Longbow Apache through the United States foreign military sales program in 2002.
As of June 2005 the US Army's Longbow Apache modernization program was valued at $9 billion including upgrade of 597 aircraft, 96 more than the originally planned 501 aircraft.
On 23 September 2005, the US Army awarded Boeing a $192.5 million contract for 13 (final agreement was for 16?) new-build AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters in the Block II configuration. Aircraft production was anticipated to begin in early 2006. This move was in parallel with the boost of the Longbow Apache remanufacturing program with 96 additional aircraft to be upgraded to be added to 501 aircraft remanufactured to the Block II standard. Overall, production of 13 AH-64Ds and remanufacturing of 96 AH-64As was meant to bridge to the Block III Apache production by 2010.
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