Boeing AH-64 Apache
From Scramble - The Aviation Magazine
|Boeing AH-64D Apache|
|First Flight||30 September 1975 (YAH-64)|
|Number built||1,440, in production|
|Data for||AH-64D Block I Lot 1|
|Length||17.73 m||58.17 ft|
|Main rotor diameter||14.6 m||47 ft 11 in|
|Height||4.05 m||13.30 ft|
|Combat weight||7,270 kg||16,027 lb|
|Maximum takeoff weight||10,400 kg||22,928 lb|
|Engines||two General Electric T700-GE-701C turboshafts|
|Power||1,390 kW (each)||1,890 hp (each)|
|Maximum speed||273 km/h||mph|
|Operational range (internal fuel)||483 km||260 nm|
|Deployment range (external fuel)||1,900 km||1,025 nm|
|Service ceiling (reduced load)||6,400 m||20,997 ft|
|Rate of climb||803 m/min||2,635 ft/min|
|Armament options||Single Boeing M230 30 mm gun, AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, CRV-7 or Hydra-70 2.75 inch rockets|
The AH-64 was designed by Hughes in response to the US Army Advanced Attack Helicopter program. The US Army selected the AH-64, by Hughes Helicopters, over the Bell YAH-63 in 1976, and later approved full production in 1982. McDonnell Douglas continued production and development after purchasing Hughes Helicopters from Summa Corporation in 1984. With a MTOGW of 10,4 tons, the AH-64 is heavier compared to the 8,4 tons AH-1Z Viper. Generally speaking, the Cobra is well suited for escort and close air support missions, while the Apache was designed as a tank killer with a (Cold War era) European battlefield scenario in mind. The Apache probably has better sensor systems (including a FCR in later models) and better range, also is also more expensive and has higher maintenance demand.
Avionics and armament
The target acquisition designation sight, TADS (AN/ASQ-170), and the pilot night vision sensor, PNVS (AN/AAQ-11), were developed by Lockheed Martin. The turret-mounted TADS provides direct-view optics, television and three-fields-of-view forward-looking infrared (FLIR to carry out search, detection and recognition, and Litton laser rangefinder / designator. PNVS consists of a FLIR in a rotating turret located on the nose above the TADS. The image from the PNVS is displayed in the monocular eyepiece of the Honeywell integrated helmet And display sighting system, IHADSS, worn by the pilot and copilot / gunner. Lockheed Martin has developed a new targeting and night vision system for the Apache, using second-generation long-wave infrared sensors with improved range and resolution. The new system is called Arrowhead Modernized TADS/PNVS (or M-TADS/PNVS) and has a targeting FLIR with three fields of view, a dual field-of-view pilotage FLIR, a CCD TV camera, electronic zoom, target tracker and auto-boresight. The AN/ASQ-170(V) TADS/AN/AAQ-11(V) PNVS) M-TADS/PNVS Arrowhead entered production in December 2003 and the first unit was delivered to the US Army in May 2005. 704 US Army Apaches are to be equipped with Arrowhead by 2011.
The Apache is equipped with an electronic warfare suite consisting of: AN/APR-39A(V) RWR (Northrop Grumman, formerly Litton); AN/APR-48A Radar Frequency Interferometer Electronic Support target acquisition system; Sanders AN/ALQ-144 infra-red countermeasures; AN/AVR-2 laser warning receiver from Goodrich (formerly Hughes Danbury Optical Systems then Raytheon); AN/ALQ-136(V) radar jammer developed by ITT; and chaff dispensers. US Army Longbow Apaches were to be fitted with the ITT AN/ALQ-211 SIRCM (suite of integrated radio frequency countermeasures) suite, however the availability of funding for this project is uncertain. UK Apache AH1s are fitted with BAE Systems helicopter integrated defensive aids suite (HIDAS), also chosen by Kuwait and Greece. HIDAS, which includes the Sky Guardian 2000 radar warning receiver, entered service on the Apache AH1 in July 2003. Israeli AH-64D helicopters are fitted with the Elisra Seraph self-protection system, including SPS-65 missile warner and SPJ-40 radar jammer. Dutch AH-64D helicopters are being fitted with Apache Modular Aircraft Survivability Equipment pod, incorporating Terma's Electronic Warfare Management System (EWMS - US designation AN/ALQ-213(V), full colour threat displays and two Stub Wing Pods (SWP), each of which houses MWS and IR decoy flare launchers. The starboard stub wing can carry the AN/AAQ-24 Nemesis directional infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) IR jammer.
Initial model powered by two T700-GE-701 turboshafts rated at 1.127 kW (continuous) and 1.286 kW (emergency rating). The Japanese AH-64DJP variant can be equipped the AIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missiles for defense. The Greek Army acquired AH-64A+ powered by uprated T700-GE-701C engines (1,419 kW emergency rating) and has upgraded the airframes to AH-64D standard.
The AH-64B, cancelled in 1992, was a proposed interim upgrade to improve 254 AH-64As with GPS, new radios, new rotor blades, and improved navigation systems. The AH-64B was to include an improved target hand-off capability and secure radios. In November 1991 funding was provided to initiate improvements which had been approved as a result of Desert Shield/Storm experience. Additional funding was provided for research and development for the follow up AH-64C standard.
The AH-64C was the designation originally applied to AH-64A models upgraded to near AH-64D standard, including all upgrades except Longbow radar and new uprated T700-GE-701C engines. Approximately 540 were to be upgraded, but the designation was abandoned after 1993. Although the designation was dropped, the plan was not, and as of 2001 only about half the 501 AH-64A Apaches that are to be upgraded to the AH-64D configuration will receive the full upgrade, even though all will be designated AH-64D.
AH-64D Apache Longbow
The AH-64D Longbow Apache is a remanufactured and upgraded version of the AH-64A Apache attack helicopter. The primary modifications to the Apache are the addition of the AN/APG-78 millimeter-wave FCR target acquisition system, the fire-and-forget AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire air-to-ground missile, updated T700-GE-701C engines, and a fully-integrated cockpit. In addition, the aircraft receives improved survivability, communications, and navigation capabilities. Most existing capabilities of the AH-64A Apache are retained. The AH-64D has been fielded in two configurations. The full-up AH-64D includes all of the improvements listed above. In addition, a version of the AH-64D (formerly designated the AH-64C) without the FCR was also to be fielded. This version would not receive the new Radar Frequency Interferometer (RFI) or the improved engines, but would receive the other Longbow modifications. The AH-64D without FCR is capable of launching the Longbow Hellfire missile. Boeing delivered the first remanufactured Longbow Apache in March 1997. A total of 501 AH-64A Apaches were to be upgraded to the AH-64D configuration, 227 of which will be equipped with the FCR. Klu Apaches are designated unofficially NAH-64D. The Royal Air Force operates the Apache AH1, with more powerful Rolls-Royce RTM332 engines (rated at 1,566 kW) and the addition of a folding blade assembly for naval use, allowing British Apaches to operate from Royal Navy warships and auxiliaries.
US Army's initial 284 AH-64Ds, encompassing Lots 1-6 of the remanufacturing program, were built in the original configuration now known as Block I. The first McDonnell Douglas Apache Longbow for the US Army made its maiden flight 17 March 1997. All AH-64A Apaches in the fleet were to be upgraded to the AH-64D configuration, 227 equipped with the FCR, and the remaining 531 without. Lots 4 through 6 will feature better embedded diagnostics for improved maintenance. The Apache will also gain the Link-16 data-link, which is typically found on fixed-wing combat aircraft. It will also be afforded improvements to its mast-mounted Northrop Grumman AN/APG-78 Longbow fire control radar, which will improve range and add overwater capability. The Longbow radar in concert with the AGM-114 Hellfire missile could be used to attack landing craft or small warships.
Starting with Lot 7, and continuing through the remainder of the 501 planned conversions, AH-64Ds are being delivered to the service in an Apache Extended Block II (EB2) configuration. Block II includes new avionics, digital enhancements, and communications upgrades. Among the systems added are a digital map, a high-frequency radio, and JVMF messaging. The initial Block II aircraft was delivered to the Army in February 2003.
The Block III upgrade includes upgraded T700-GE-701D engines with EDECU (common with the UH-60), a new transmission (capable to handle 20% more torque), and composite rotor blades. The range of the AN/APG-78 FCR will be doubled to about 16 km (10 miles) and the US Army is looking for a missile with corresponding range. The ongoing effort to integrate UAS with the Apache will be extended to Level III control (the ability to launch missiles from an UAS) and Level IV (the ability to actually fly an UAS). Finally, airframe life will be extended to 10,000 hours and rotor and transmissions life is extended from 4,500 hours to 10,000 hours.
AH-64E Apache Guardian
In October 2012, the AH-64D Block III was redesignated AH-64E and renames Apache Guardian January 2013.
- Israel (as AH-64A Peten and AH-64D Saraph)
- Indonesia (AH-64D Block III requested September 2012)
- The Netherlands
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea (AH-64D Block III requested September 2012)
- Taiwan (as AH-64E Sky Eagle)
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom Army Air Corps (as Apache AH1)
- United States Army
AH-64D firing the M230 gun
Dutch AH-64D with ASMASE pod
Dutch AH-64D at Den Helder 2011 firing flares from the ASMASE pod
|22 June 1973||Hughes 77/Bell 409 selected|
|30 September 1975||1st flight YAH-64A|
|1976||AH-64 selected as AAH|
|January 1984||1st AH-64A delivered (US Army)|
|December 1989||Combat debut (US Army, Panama)|
|15 April 1992||1st flight AH-64D|
|May 2005||1st Arrowhead M-TADS/PNVS delivered to US Army field unit|
|2012||Taiwan becomes 1st international AH-64E customer|