Boeing AH-64 – Apache

The Boeing AH-64 Apache is a four-blade and twin-engine attack helicopter developed for US Army and Navy.

The Apache’s initial operational capability was in 1985. Its first flight was on September 30, 1975, and its first production rollout was in January 1984; the 500th production aircraft was rolled out on September 15, 1989.

The AH-64 symbolizes the firepower that can be wielded by military helicopters. It is powered by two main gas-turbine engines (two General Electric T700-GE-701 turboshaft engines) with 1696 horsepower output each plus an auxiliary power unit (APU). The main engines power the main rotors; the APU supplies electrical and mechanical power while the main engines are shut down on the ground. The armaments that can be carried on an Apache helicopter include a machine gun (M230 30-mm chain gun with 1200 rounds), rocket launcher (Hydra 70 FFAR rockets), and a combination of missiles (AGM-114 Hellfire, AIM-92 Stinger, AIM-9 Sidewinder, TOW missiles, and AGM-122A Sidearm anti-radar missiles). In the Navy’s Sea Apache version, AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles can be carried, as well as Penguin Mk2 Mod7 missiles. Other outboard equipment that can be carried includes the long-range fuel tank, an M130 chaff/flare dispenser, and the ALQ-144IRCM pulsed jammer.

The AH-64 Apache helicopter has an in-line cockpit arrangement with the gunner in the front and the pilot in the rear cockpit. Both are aided with a number of pieces of advanced electronic equipment. There is a sensor eyepiece that the gunner can look into with both eyes that is connected to the night vision and target acquisition displays. The sensor module for the TADS/PNVS (target acquisition/designation system and pilot’s night vision sensor) is located at the nose of the helicopter. TADS is a combination of a direct-view device with wide-angle and magnified field-of-view optics, a TV camera, a laser tracker, and a laser rangefinder/designator.

Attack helicopters are most effective against ground targets such as hardened bunkers and armored vehicles. These helicopters can approach targets from low altitudes to avoid detection and strike from the air. This makes armored vehicles particularly vulnerable because their guns have limited elevations. In fact, during the Desert Storm Operation some 500 Iraqi tanks were destroyed by the Apache attack helicopters in the absence of any air cover for the Iraqis.

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