AH-64 Apache

AH-64 Apache is a two-seat, twin-turboshaft attack helicopter, originally developed in the mid 70s by Hughes Helicopters.

In 1984, Hughes Helicopters was purchased by McDonnell Douglas which continued the serial production started by Hughes at its Mesa, Arizona facility in 1983.

Later, in 1997, Mcdonnell Douglas merged with Boeing and AH-64 became a product of the Boeing Company.

Now manufactured by Boeing, AH-64 Apache is, without doubt, the best known attack helicopter in the world.

Apache is the main attack helicopter of the US Army and along with the new Marines AH-1z Viper, the latest variant of the famous Cobra family, they are the most advanced American attack helicopters.

Author: "Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army" - by Tech. Sgt. Andy Dunaway
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History

After the US Army issued a Request For Proposals (RFP) for an Advanced Attack Helicopter (AAH) on November 15, 1972, five proposals were submitted by Bell, Sikorsky, Lockheed, Hughes and Boeing Vertol / Grumman association.

Of the five competitors, Bell and Hughes were selected to build each a prototype.

Hughes built the Model 77/YAH-64A, an helicopter with four-blade main rotor which first flew on 30 September 1975.

Bell presented the Model 409/YAH-63A prototype, which was a completely different design from the AH-1 Cobra although it utilized some technologies from it.

In December 1976, the prototype declared winner (winning prototype / design) was the one of Hughes. The disadvantages of the Bell prototype were the two-blade rotor which was more vulnerable to damage than the Hughes four-blade rotor, and the fact that Bell's design had a tricycle landing gear configuration which the US Army considered that could have been less stable.

Thus, the Hughes AH-64 enter the pre-production stage and in 1981 the US Army received three pre-production models for testing.

The first production AH-64A variant left the Hughes plant in 1983. One year later, Hughes was purchased by McDonnell Douglas in a deal worth $470 million. McDonnell Douglas would merge with Boeing a decade later, in 1997, becoming part of The Boeing Company.

Design

Apache has two General Electric T700-GE-701C turboshaft engines placed on each side above the wingtips powering a four-blade main rotor and a four-blade tail rotor.

In the cockpit there are two seats, the second seat being placed behind and above the first one. This second seat is for the pilot and is placed higher that the seat in the front so the pilot can have a better visibility flying the helicopter.

The front seat is occupied by the co-pilot wich also has the role of gunner. Both members of the crew can independently fly the helicopter and engage potential targets with the weapons onboard.

Engines

Originally the AH-64A production variant was powered by two General Electric T700-GE-701 turboshafts, with a power of 1,690 shp (1,260 kW).

Starting with 1990 it was decided to equip the AH-64A/D versions with the more powerful General Electric T700-701C turboshaft producing a power of 1,890 shp (1,410 kW).

Another engine upgrade was made in 2004 with the T700-GE-701D rated at 1,994 shp (1,487 kW) which was installed on the AH-64D/E variants.

The United Kingdom through AgustaWestland produced under licence its own variant of the Apache designated WAH-64 which was powered by the even more powerfull Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322 turboshaft engine producing 2,100 shp (1,600 kW).

Battles

AH-64 Apache made its debut in combat during the US invasion of Panama (December 20, 1989 - January 31, 1990). But these advanced war machines were about to show their true value almost a year later when they took part in their first truly major conflict: the Gulf War.

During this American intervention in Iraq, the AH-64 Apache demonstrated its combat and tactical value.

The Apaches started the American invasion when on the night of January 17, 1991, eight AH-64s accompanied by three MH-53 Pave Low helicopters flew undetected at low altitude and destroyed an Iraqi radar complex using Hellfire rockets making an important gap in the Iraqi air defense.

These eight AH-64 helicopters fired the first shots of the Operation Desert Storm and pave the way (this allowed the USAF) for the USAF fleet to start the air campaign and bombing Iraq.

These eight Apache helicopters fired the first shots of Operation Desert Storm and pave the way for US and Allied fighter aircraft and bombers to begin Iraq's air bombing campaign.

Operators

- Egypt - Egyptian Air Force (AH-64D)

- Greece - Hellenic Army (AH-64A/D)

- India - Indian Air Force (AH-64E)

- Indonesia - Indonesian Army (AH-64E)

- Israel - Israeli Air Force (AH-64A/D)

- Japan - Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (AH-64D)

- Kuwait - Kuwait Air Force (AH-64D)

- Netherlands - Royal Netherlands Air Force (AH-64D)

- Qatar - Qatar Emiri Air Force (AH-64E)

- Saudi Arabia - Royal Saudi Land Forces (AH-64A/D/E) and Saudi Arabia National Guard (AH-64E)

- Singapore - Republic of Singapore Air Force (AH-64D)

- South Korea - Republic of Korea Army (AH-64E)

- Republic of China (Taiwan) - Republic of China Army (AH-64E)

- United Arab Emirates - United Arab Emirates Air Force (AH-64D/E)

- United Kingdom - AgustaWestland Apache

- United States - United States Army (AH-64D/E)

Posted by: Andrei Dcs
AH-64 Apache - General Data and Specifications:
Type Attack helicopter
Place of Origin United States of America
Service Period and Status April 1986-present
Manufacturer and Builders Hughes Helicopters (1975–1984)
McDonnell Douglas (1984–1997)
Boeing Defense, Space & Security (1997–present)
Program & Unit Cost Unit cost:
AH-64A: US$20 million (2007)
AH-64D: US$33M (2010)
AH-64E: US$35.5M (FY2014)
Production Period 1983–present
Number Built 2,000 as of June 2013
Variants AgustaWestland Apache
First Flight 30 September 1975
Mass / Weight Empty weight:
11,387 lb / 5,165 kg

Loaded weight:
17,650 lb / 8,000 kg

Max. takeoff weight:
23,000 lb / 10,433 kg
Length Fuselage length:
49 ft 5 in / 15.06 m

Length with both rotors turning:
58.17 ft / 17.73 m
Height 12.7 ft / 3.87 m
crew 2 (pilot, and co-pilot/gunner)
Powerplant 2 × General Electric T700-GE-701 turboshafts, 1,690 shp (1,260 kW)
upgraded to T700-GE-701C (for AH-64A/D from 1990), 1,890 shp (1,409 kW) each
Rotor Systems 4 blade main rotor, 4 blade tail rotor in non-orthogonal alignment
Rotor Diameter 48 ft 0 in / 14.63 m
Disc Area 1,809.5 ft² / 168.11 m²
Disc Loading 9.80 lb/ft² / 47.9 kg/m²
Speed Never exceed speed:
197 knots / 227 mph / 365 km/h

Maximum speed:
158 knots / 182 mph / 293 km/h

Cruise speed:
143 knots / 165 mph / 265 km/h
Operational Range Range:
257 nmi / 295 mi / 476 km with Longbow radar mast

Combat radius:
260 nmi / 300 mi / 480 km

Ferry range:
1,024 nmi / 1,180 mi / 1,900 km
Service Ceiling 21,000 ft / 6,400 m minimum loaded
Rate of Climb 2,500 ft/min / 12.7 m/s
Power-to-Weight Ratio 0.18 hp/lb / 0.31 kW/kg