Boeing AH-64 Apache is an American four-blade, twin-turboshaft
attack helicopter with a tailwheel-type landing gear arrangement and a
tandem cockpit for a two-man crew. It features a nose-mounted sensor
suite for target acquisition and night vision systems. It is armed
with a 30 mm (1.18 in)
M230 chain gun
M230 chain gun carried between the
main landing gear, under the aircraft's forward fuselage, and four
hardpoints mounted on stub-wing pylons for carrying armament and
stores, typically a mixture of
AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and Hydra 70
rocket pods. The AH-64 has a large amount of systems redundancy to
improve combat survivability.
The Apache originally started as the Model 77 developed by Hughes
Helicopters for the
United States Army's Advanced Attack Helicopter
program to replace the AH-1 Cobra. The prototype YAH-64 was first
flown on 30 September 1975. The U.S. Army selected the YAH-64 over the
Bell YAH-63 in 1976, and later approved full production in 1982. After
Hughes Helicopters in 1984,
McDonnell Douglas continued
AH-64 production and development. The helicopter was introduced to
U.S. Army service in April 1986. The first production AH-64D Apache
Longbow, an upgraded Apache variant, was delivered to the Army in
March 1997. Production has been continued by
Boeing Defense, Space
& Security; over 2,000 AH-64s have been produced to date.
The U.S. Army is the primary operator of the AH-64; it has also become
the primary attack helicopter of multiple nations, including Greece,
Japan, Israel, the Netherlands, Singapore, and the United Arab
Emirates; as well as being produced under license in the United
Kingdom as the
AgustaWestland Apache. American AH-64s have served in
conflicts in Panama, the Persian Gulf, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
Israel used the Apache in its military conflicts in
Lebanon and the
Gaza Strip; British and Dutch Apaches have seen deployments in wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq.
1.1 Advanced Attack Helicopter
1.2 Into production
2.2 Avionics and targeting
2.3 Armaments and configurations
3 Operational history
United States Army
3.1.1 Early service
Gulf War and Balkans
Afghanistan and Iraq
3.1.4 Recent service
3.3 United Kingdom
3.5 Saudi Arabia
3.7 Other users
3.8 Future and possible users
4.7 Sea Apache
4.8 Export Apaches
4.9 Block modification
6 Specifications (AH-64A/D)
7 Notable appearances in media
8 See also
10 External links
Advanced Attack Helicopter
Main article: Advanced Attack Helicopter
An early Hughes YAH-64 prototype with T-tail
Following the cancellation of the AH-56 Cheyenne in 1972, in favor of
projects like the U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II and the Marine
Corps Harrier, the
United States Army sought an aircraft to fill an
anti-armor attack role that would still be under Army command.
Key West Agreement forbade the Army from owning combat
fixed-wing aircraft. The Army wanted an aircraft better than the AH-1
Cobra in firepower, performance and range. It would have the
maneuverability for terrain following nap-of-the-earth (NoE)
flying. To this end, the U.S. Army issued a Request For Proposals
(RFP) for an
Advanced Attack Helicopter
Advanced Attack Helicopter (AAH) on 15 November
1972. As a sign of the importance of this project, in September
1973 the Army designated its five most important projects as the "Big
Five", with the AAH included.
Proposals were submitted by Bell,
Grumman team, Hughes,
Lockheed, and Sikorsky. In July 1973, the U.S. Department of Defense
selected finalists Bell and Hughes Aircraft's Toolco Aircraft Division
(later Hughes Helicopters). This began the phase 1 of the
competition. Each company built prototype helicopters and went
through a flight test program. Hughes' Model 77/YAH-64A prototype
first flew on 30 September 1975, while Bell's Model 409/YAH-63A
prototype first flew on 1 October 1975. After evaluating the test
results, the Army selected Hughes' YAH-64A over Bell's YAH-63A in
1976. Reasons for selecting the YAH-64A included its more damage
tolerant four-blade main rotor and the instability of the YAH-63's
tricycle landing gear arrangement.
A YAH-64A prototype in 1982
The AH-64A then entered phase 2 of the AAH program under which three
pre-production AH-64s would be built, additionally, the two YAH-64A
flight prototypes and the ground test unit were upgraded to the same
standard. Weapons and sensor systems were integrated and tested
during this time, including the laser-guided AGM-114 Hellfire
missile. Development of the Hellfire missile had begun in 1974,
originally known by the name of
Helicopter Launched, Fire and Forget
Missile ('Hellfire' being a shortened acronym), for the purpose of
arming helicopter platforms with an effective anti-tank
In 1981, three pre-production AH-64As were handed over to the U.S.
Army for Operational Test II. The Army testing was successful, but
afterward it was decided to upgrade to the more powerful T700-GE-701
version of engine, rated at 1,690 shp (1,260 kW). The AH-64
was named the Apache in late 1981, keeping with the Army's traditional
use of American Indian tribal names for its helicopters and it was
approved for full-scale production in 1982. In 1983, the first
production helicopter was rolled out at Hughes Helicopter's facility
at Mesa, Arizona.
Hughes Helicopters was purchased by McDonnell
Douglas for $470 million in 1984. The helicopter unit later became
part of The
Boeing Company with the merger of
Boeing and McDonnell
Douglas in August 1997. In 1986, the incremental or flyaway cost
for the AH-64A was $7M and the average unit cost was approximately
$13.9M based on total costs.
During the 1980s,
McDonnell Douglas studied an AH-64B, featuring an
updated cockpit, new fire control system and other upgrades. In 1988,
funding was approved for a multi-stage upgrade program to improve
sensor and weapon systems. Technological advance led to the
program's cancellation in favor of more ambitious changes. In August
1990, development of the AH-64D Apache Longbow was approved by the
Defense Acquisition Board. The first AH-64D prototype flew on 15 April
1992, prototype testing ended in April 1995. During testing, six
AH-64D helicopters were pitted against a numerically superior group of
AH-64A helicopters; the results demonstrated the AH-64D to have a
seven times increase in survivability and four times increase in
lethality compared to the AH-64A. On 13 October 1995,
full-scale production was approved; a $1.9-billion five-year
contract was signed in August 1996 to rebuild 232 AH-64As to AH-64D
standard. On 17 March 1997, the first production AH-64D first
flew, it was delivered on 31 March.
A YAH-64A in 1984
Portions of the Apache are produced by various aerospace firms.
AgustaWestland has produced number of components for the Apache, both
for the international market and for the British Army's AgustaWestland
Apache. Since 2004,
Korea Aerospace Industries
Korea Aerospace Industries has been the sole
manufacturer of the Apache's fuselage. Fuselage production
had previously been performed by Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical; the
transfer of fuselage production led to a prolonged legal dispute
between Teledyne Ryan and Boeing.
The AH-64D program cost a total of $11bn through 2007. In April
Boeing was awarded a $67.6M fixed-price contract for the
remanufacture of several existing U.S. AH-64As to the AH-64D
configuration; between May 2009 and July 2011, a further five
contracts were issued to remanufacture batches of AH-64As to the
upgraded D variant. Since 2008, nations operating the older AH-64A
have been urged to undertake modernization programs to become AH-64Ds,
Boeing and the U.S. Army plans to terminate support for the
A-variants in the near future.
General Electric T700-701
1,696 shp (1,265 kW)
General Electric T700-701C
1,890 shp (1,410 kW)
General Electric T700-701D
1,994 shp (1,487 kW)
Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322
2,100 shp (1,600 kW)
The AH-64 Apache has a four-blade main rotor and a four-blade tail
rotor. The crew sits in tandem, with the pilot sitting behind and
above the co-pilot/gunner. Both crew members are capable of flying
the aircraft and performing methods of weapon engagements
independently. The AH-64 is powered by two General Electric T700
turboshaft engines with high-mounted exhausts on either side of the
fuselage. Various models of engines have been used on the
Apache; those in British service use engines from Rolls-Royce. In
2004, General Electric Aviation began producing more powerful
T700-GE-701D engines, rated at 2,000 shp (1,500 kW) for
The crew compartment has shielding between the cockpits, such that at
least one crew member can survive hits. The compartment and the rotor
blades are designed to sustain a hit from 23 mm (0.91 in)
rounds. The airframe includes some 2,500 lb (1,100 kg) of
protection and has a self-sealing fuel system to protect against
ballistic projectiles. The aircraft was designed to meet the
crashworthiness requirements of MIL-STD-1290, which specifies
minimum requirement for crash impact energy attenuation to minimize
crew injuries and fatalities. This was achieved through incorporation
of increased structural strength, crashworthy landing gear, seats and
On a standard day where temperatures are 59 °F (15 °C),
the AH-64 has a vertical rate of climb of 1,775 feet per minute (541
m/min), and a service ceiling of 21,000 feet (6,400 m). However,
on a hot day where temperatures are 70 °F (21 °C), its
vertical rate of climb is reduced to 1,595 fpm (486 m/min), and
service ceiling is reduced to 19,400 feet (5,900 m) due to less dense
Avionics and targeting
One of the revolutionary features of the Apache was its helmet mounted
display, the Integrated Helmet and Display Sighting System
(IHADSS); among its capabilities, either the pilot or gunner
can slave the helicopter's 30 mm automatic
M230 Chain Gun
M230 Chain Gun to
their helmet, making the gun track head movements to point where they
look. The M230E1 can be alternatively fixed to a locked forward firing
position, or controlled via the Target Acquisition and Designation
System (TADS). On more modern AH-64s, the TADS/PNVS has been
replaced by Lockheed Martin's Arrowhead (MTADS) targeting system.
AH-64 Apache in flight
U.S. Army engagement training is performed under the Aerial Weapons
Scoring System Integration with Longbow Apache Tactical Engagement
Simulation System (AWSS-LBA TESS), using live 30 mm and rocket
ammunition as well as simulated Hellfire missiles. The Smart Onboard
Data Interface Module (SMODIM) transmits Apache data to an AWSS ground
station for gunnery evaluation. The AH-64's standard of
performance for aerial gunnery is to achieve at least 1 hit for every
30 shots fired at a wheeled vehicle at a range of 800–1,200 m
The AH-64 was designed to perform in front-line environments, and to
operate at night or day and during adverse weather conditions.
Various sensors and onboard avionics allows the Apache to perform in
these conditions; such systems include the Target Acquisition and
Designation System, Pilot Night Vision System (TADS/PNVS), passive
infrared countermeasures, GPS, and the IHADSS.
Longbow-equipped Apaches can locate up to 256 targets simultaneously
within 50 km (31 mi). In August 2012, 24 U.S. Army
AH-64Ds were equipped with the Ground Fire Acquisition System (GFAS),
which detects and targets ground-based weapons fire sources in
all-light conditions and with a 120° Visual field. The GFAS consists
of two sensor pods working with the AH-64's other sensors, and a
thermographic camera that precisely locates muzzle flashes.
In 2014, it was announced that new targeting and surveillance sensors
were under development to provide high-resolution color imagery to
crews, replacing older low definition black-and-white imaging
systems. Lockheed received the first contract in January 2016,
upgrading the Arrowhead turret to provide higher-resolution color
imaging with longer ranges and a wider field of view. In 2014, the
U.S. Army was adapting its Apaches for increased maritime performance
as part of the Pentagon's rebalance to the Pacific. Additional
avionics and sensor improvements includes an extended-range radar
capable of detecting small ships in littoral environments, software
adaptions to handle maritime targets, and adding
Link 16 data-links
for better communications with friendly assets.
Armaments and configurations
Rate of climb
The AH-64 is adaptable to numerous different roles within its context
as Close Combat Attack (CCA). In addition to the 30 mm M230E1
Chain Gun, the Apache carries a range of external stores and weapons
on its stub-wing pylons, typically a mixture of AGM-114 Hellfire
anti-tank missiles, and
Hydra 70 general-purpose unguided 70 mm
(2.756 in) rockets. An 18-aircraft Apache battalion can carry
288 Hellfire missiles, each capable of destroying a tank. Since
2005, the Hellfire missile is sometimes outfitted with a thermobaric
warhead; designated AGM-114N, it is intended for use against ground
forces and urban warfare operations. The use of thermobaric
"enhanced blast" weapons, such as the AGM-114N, has been a point of
controversy. In October 2015, the U.S. Army ordered its first
Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) guided
70 mm rockets for the Apache.
Starting in the 1980s, the Stinger and
AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air
missiles and the
AGM-122 Sidearm anti-radiation missile were evaluated
for use upon the AH-64. The Stinger was initially selected;
the U.S. Army was also considering the Starstreak air-to-air
missile. External fuel tanks can also be carried on the stub
wings to increase range and mission time. The stub-wing pylons
have mounting points for maintenance access; these mountings can be
used to secure externally personnel for emergency transportation.
Stinger missiles are often used on non-U.S. Apaches, as foreign forces
do not have as many air superiority aircraft to control the skies.
The AH-64E initially lacked the ability to use the Stinger to make
room for self-defense equipment, but the capability was re-added
following a South Korean demand.
The AH-64E Apache has the ability to control unmanned aerial vehicles
(UAVs), used by the U.S. Army to perform aerial scouting missions
previously performed by the OH-58 Kiowa. Apaches can request to take
control of an
RQ-7 Shadow or
MQ-1C Grey Eagle
MQ-1C Grey Eagle from ground control
stations to safely scout via datalink communications. There are four
levels of UAV interoperability (LOI): LOI 1 indirectly receives
payload data; LOI 2 receives payload data through direct
communication; LOI 3 deploys the UAV's armaments; and LOI 4 takes over
flight control. UAVs can search for enemies and, if equipped with a
laser designator, target them for the Apache or other friendly
Boeing has suggested that the AH-64 could be fitted with a directed
energy weapon. The company has developed a small laser weapon,
initially designed to engage small UAVs, that uses a high-resolution
telescope to direct a 2-10 kW beam with the diameter of a penny
out to a range of 5.4 nmi (10.0 km; 6.2 mi). On the
Apache, the laser could be used to destroy enemy communications or
radio equipment. On 26 June 2017, the Army and
they had successfully completed the first ever helicopter-based flight
demonstration of a high energy laser system from an AH-64.
On 14 July 2016 it was reported that the AH-64 had successfully
completed testing of the
MBDA Brimstone anti-armor missile.
United States Army
The U.S. Army formally accepted its first production AH-64A in January
1984 and training of the first pilots began later that year.
The first operational Apache unit, 7th Battalion, 17th Cavalry
Brigade, began training on the AH-64A in April 1986 at Fort Hood,
Texas. Two operational units with 68 AH-64s first deployed to
Europe in September 1987 and took part in large military exercises
Upon fielding the Apache, capabilities such as using the FLIR for
extensive night operations made it clear that it was capable of
operating beyond the forward line of own troops (FLOT) to which
previous attack helicopters were normally restricted. It was
discovered that the Apache was coincidentally fitted with the Have
UHF radio system used by the U.S. Air Force, allowing
inter-service coordination and joint operations such as the joint air
attack teams (JAAT). The Apache have operated extensively with close
air support (CAS) aircraft, such as the USAF's Fairchild Republic A-10
Thunderbolt II and the USMC's
McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II,
often acting as a target designator to conserve the Apache's own
munitions. The Apache was first used in combat in 1989, during
Operation Just Cause, the invasion of Panama. The AH-64 participated
in over 240 hours of combat attacking various targets, mostly at
night. General Carl Stiner, the commander of the operation,
commented that: "You could fire that Hellfire missile through a window
from four miles away at night".
Gulf War and Balkans
AH-64 during an extraction exercise at Camp Bondsteel,
Kosovo in 2007
with a soldier on the avionics bay.
Nearly half of all U.S. Apaches were deployed to Saudi Arabia
following Iraq's invasion of
Kuwait in 1990. During Operation
Desert Storm on 17 January 1991, eight AH-64As guided by four MH-53
Pave Low IIIs destroyed part of Iraq's radar network in the
operation's first attack, allowing the attack aircraft to evade
detection. The Apaches each carried an asymmetric load of Hydra 70
flechette rockets, Hellfires, and one auxiliary fuel tank. During
the 100-hour ground war a total of 277 AH-64s took part, destroying
278 tanks, numerous armored personnel carriers and other Iraqi
vehicles. One AH-64 was lost in the war, to a rocket-propelled
grenade (RPG) hit at close range, the Apache crashed but the crew
While effective in combat, the AH-64 also presented serious logistical
complications. Findings reported in 1990 stated "maintenance units
could not keep up with the Apache's unexpectedly high work
load..." To provide spare parts for combat operations, the U.S.
Army unofficially grounded all other AH-64s worldwide; Apaches in the
theater flew only one-fifth of the planned flight-hours. These
problems were evident before the Gulf War.
The AH-64 played roles in the Balkans during separate conflicts in
Kosovo in the 1990s. During Task Force Hawk, 24
Apaches were deployed to a land base in
Albania in 1999 for combat in
Kosovo. These required 26,000 tons of equipment to be transported
over 550 C-17 flights, at a cost of US$480 million. During these
deployments, the AH-64 encountered some problems, such as deficiencies
in training, night vision equipment, fuel tanks, and
survivability. On 27 April 1999, an Apache crashed during
Albania due to a failure with the tail rotor, causing
the fleet in the Balkans to be grounded in December 2000.
In 2000, Major General Dick Cody, 101st Airborne's commanding officer,
wrote a strongly worded memo to the Chief of Staff about training and
equipment failures. No pilots were qualified to fly with night
vision goggles, preventing nighttime operations. The Washington
Post printed a front-page article on the failures, commenting: "The
vaunted helicopters came to symbolise everything wrong with the Army
as it enters the 21st century: Its inability to move quickly, its
resistance to change, its obsession with casualties, its post-Cold War
identity crisis". No Apache combat missions took place in Kosovo
due to fears of casualties.
Afghanistan and Iraq
AH-64D Apache flying over Baghdad, Iraq in 2007, on a reconnaissance
U.S. Apaches served in Operation Enduring Freedom in
2001. The Apache was the only Army platform capable of providing
accurate CAS duties for Operation Anaconda, regularly taking fire
during the intense early fighting, they were typically repaired
quickly. U.S. AH-64Ds typically flew in
Afghanistan and Iraq
without the Longbow Radar in the absence of armored threats. On
21 December 2009, a pair of U.S. Apaches attacked a British-held base
in a friendly fire incident, killing one British soldier. In
2006, Thomas Adams noted that Apaches often fought in small teams with
little autonomy to react to threats and opportunities, requiring
lengthy dialogue with command structures in an effort to centrally
micromanage each unit.
In 2003, the AH-64 participated in the invasion of Iraq during
Operation Iraqi Freedom. On 24 March 2003, 31 Apaches were
damaged, one shot down and its crew captured, in an unsuccessful
attack on an
Iraqi Republican Guard
Iraqi Republican Guard armored brigade near Karbala.
Iraqi tank crews had set up a "flak trap" among terrain and
effectively employed their guns. Iraqi officials claimed a
farmer with a Brno rifle shot down the Apache, but the farmer
denied involvement. The helicopter came down intact and both the
pilot and co-pilot were captured. The AH-64D was destroyed via
air strike the following day.
By the end of U.S. military operations in Iraq in December 2011,
several Apache helicopters had been shot down by enemy fire, and
others lost in accidents. In 2006, an Apache was downed by a
Strela 2 (SA-7) in Iraq, despite the Apache being
typically able to avoid such missiles. In 2007, four Apache
helicopters were destroyed on the ground by insurgent mortar fire
using web-published geotagged photographs taken by soldiers.
Several AH-64s were lost to accidents in
Afghanistan as of
2012. Most Apaches that took heavy damage were
able to continue their missions and return safely.
AH-64 Apache engaging Taliban insurgents over Afghanistan.
As of 2011, the U.S. Army Apache fleet had accumulated more than 3
million flight hours since the first prototype flew in 1975. A
DOD audit released in May 2011, found that
Boeing had significantly
overcharged the U.S. Army on multiple occasions, ranging from 33.3
percent to 177,475 percent for routine spare parts in helicopters like
On 21 February 2013, the 1st Battalion (Attack), 229th Aviation
Joint Base Lewis-McChord
Joint Base Lewis-McChord became the first U.S. Army unit
to field the AH-64E Apache Guardian; a total of 24 AH-64E were
received by mid-2013. On 27 November 2013, the AH-64E achieved
initial operating capability (IOC). In March 2014, the 1st-229th
Attack Reconnaissance Battalion deployed 24 AH-64Es to
the type's first combat deployment. From April through September
2014, AH-64Es in combat maintained an 88 percent readiness rate.
The unit's deployment ended in November 2014, with the AH-64E
accumulating 11,000 flight hours, each helicopter averaging 66 hours
per month. The AH-64E flies 20 mph (32 km/h) faster than the
AH-64D, cutting response time by 57 percent, and has better fuel
efficiency, increasing time on station from 2.5–3 hours to 3-3.5
hours; Taliban forces, which were familiar with the AH-64D and based
their tactics accordingly, were surprised by the AH-64E arriving and
attacking sooner and for longer periods. AH-64Es also worked with
medium and large unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to find targets and
maintain positive ID, conducting 60 percent of the unit's direct-fire
engagements in conjunction with UAVs; Guardian pilots often controlled
UAVs and accessed their video feeds to use their greater operating
altitudes and endurance to see the battlespace from standoff
The Army is implementing a plan to move all Apaches from the Army
Reserve and National Guard to the active Army to serve as scout
helicopters to replace the OH-58 Kiowa. Using the AH-64 to scout would
be less expensive than Kiowa upgrades or purchasing a new scout
helicopter. AH-64Es can control UAVs like the
MQ-1C Grey Eagle
MQ-1C Grey Eagle to
perform aerial scouting missions; a 2010 study found the teaming of
Apaches and UAVs was the most cost-effective alternative to a new
helicopter and would meet 80 percent of reconnaissance requirements,
compared to 20 percent with existing OH-58s and 50 percent with
upgraded OH-58s. National Guard units, who would lose their attack
helicopters, criticized the proposal. In March 2015, the
first heavy attack reconnaissance unit was formed with 24 Apaches and
12 Shadow UAVs.
In July 2014, the Pentagon announced that Apaches had been dispatched
Baghdad to protect embassy personnel from Islamic State militant
attacks. On 4 October 2014, Apaches began performing missions in
Operation Inherent Resolve against Islamic State ground forces.
In October 2014, U.S. Army AH-64s and Air Force fighters participated
in four air strikes on Islamic State units northeast of Fallujah.
In June 2016, Apaches were used in support of the Iraqi Army's Mosul
offensive and provided support during the Battle of Mosul,
sometimes flying night missions supporting Iraqi operations.
Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force (IAF) first received AH-64As in 1990, for a
total fleet of 42. There was some controversy over the Air
Force's choice to purchase Apaches over upgrading existing AH-1 Cobra
attack helicopters. In 2000,
Israel was interested in acquiring
up to 48 AH-64Ds, but U.S. reluctance to share the software source
code complicated the prospect. In April 2005,
the first AH-64D to the IAF. In 2001, the U.S. government was
allegedly investigating misuse of the Apache and other US-supplied
military equipment against Palestinian leaders and facilities. In
2009, an arranged sale of six AH-64Ds was reportedly blocked by the
Obama Administration, pending interagency review, over concerns the
helicopters may pose a threat to civilian Palestinians in
Gaza. In IAF service, the AH-64A was named as the Peten
(Hebrew: פתן, for Cobra[N 1]), while the AH-64D was named
Saraph (שרף, also as "Seraph", Hebrew for venomous/fiery
Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force AH-64D "Saraph" during an exercise with the Hellenic
Air Force in 2011
During the 1990s, Israeli AH-64As frequently attacked Hezbollah
outposts in Lebanon. On 13 April 1996, during Operation
Grapes of Wrath, an Apache fired two Hellfire missiles at an ambulance
in Lebanon, killing six civilians. During the al-Aqsa Intifada in
the 2000s, AH-64s were used to kill senior
Hamas figures, such as
Ahmed Yassin, Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, and Adnan al-Ghoul. On
24 May 2001, a privately owned Lebanese-registered
Cessna 152 flew 15
minutes down the coast over Israeli airspace, refused to identify and
respond to contact and a warning shot before it was shot down by an
IAF AH-64A. IAF Apaches played a prominent role in the 2006
Lebanon War, launching strikes into
Lebanon targeting Hezbollah
IAF AH-64D "Saraph"
There have also been accidents involving the Apache helicopter in
Israeli service. During the
Lebanon War in 2006, two IAF AH-64A
helicopters collided, killing one pilot and critically wounding
three. In another incident in the conflict an IAF AH-64D crashed
due to a malfunction in the main rotor, killing the two crew. In
late 2007, the
Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force put further purchases and deliveries
of AH-64Ds on hold during an investigation upon the aircraft's
performance envelope. However, Israeli officials have since
praised the Apache for its role in Operation Cast Lead in 2008,
Hamas in Gaza. In recent years, Israeli Apaches have been
used to patrol the skies over Gaza; strike operations against
insurgents using these helicopters has become a frequent
Since recent orders of new AH-64Ds have been blocked,
pursued upgrades to its AH-64A fleet. In June 2010, Israel
decided not to upgrade all AH-64As to D configuration, due to funding
constraints and lack of U.S. cooperation. In December 2010,
the IAF was examining the adoption of a new missile system as a
cheaper and lightweight complement to the Hellfire missile, either the
Hydra 70 or the Canadian CRV7. In 2013, Israeli AH-64As
had been receiving a comprehensive upgrade of their avionics and
electrical systems. The AH-64As are being upgraded to the AH-64Ai
configuration, which is near the AH-64D standard.
The Israeli Apache can carry Spike anti-tank missiles instead of the
Israeli AH-64 helicopters occasionally saw use in the air-to-air role.
The first operational air-to-air kill with an Apache took place on 24
May 2001, after a civilian
Cessna 152 aircraft entered Israeli
airspace from Lebanon, with unknown intentions and refusing to answer
or comply with air traffic control (ATC) repeated warnings to turn
Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force AH-64A fired on the Cessna, resulting in
its complete disintegration. The second operational air-to-air
kill with an Apache occurred on 10 February 2018, after an Iranian UAV
entered Israeli airspace from Syria. An
Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force AH-64
launched a missile at the UAV, destroying it.
The latest AH-64D-I has Israeli systems integrated in the Saraf
Elta communications suite,
Elbit mission management
system, Rafael Combat Net system and
UK Army Air Corps Westland WAH-64D Apache Longbow displays at a UK
The UK currently operates a modified version of the Apache Longbow;
initially called the Westland WAH-64 Apache, it is designated the
Apache AH1 by the British Army. Westland built 67 WAH-64 Apaches under
license from Boeing, following a competition between the
Eurocopter Tiger and the Apache for the British Army's new Attack
Helicopter in 1995. Important deviations made by
AgustaWestland from the U.S. Apache variants include changing to more
powerful Rolls-Royce engines, and the addition of a folding blade
assembly for use on naval ships.
On 11 July 2016, the UK Ministry of Defence confirmed a $2.3 billion
order for 50 AH-64Es to be built in Mesa, Arizona. The purchase is via
Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreement with the US government.
Leonardo Helicopters in the UK is to maintain the current fleet of
Apaches until 2023–2024, with a long-term plan for Leonardo and
other UK companies to "do most of the work" on the new fleet. The
deal includes an initial support contract for maintenance of the new
helicopters, along with spare parts and training simulators for UK
pilots. The first UK helicopters are due off the US production line in
early 2020 and will begin entering service with the
British Army in
2022. "To further guarantee value for money, systems from the current
Apache fleet, such as the Modernised Target Acquisition &
Designation System, and the Longbow Fire Control Radar, will be reused
and incorporated into the new helicopters where possible."
Approval for the re-manufacture of fifty of the UK's WAH-64 Mk 1 fleet
to AH-64E Apache Guardian standard had been given by the Defense
Security Cooperation Agency in August 2015. The aircraft will
General Electric T700
General Electric T700 engine rather than the Turbomeca
RTM322 from the current fleet; the first off-the-shelf purchase of a
GE engine by the UK Ministry of Defence.
Royal Netherlands Air Force
Royal Netherlands Air Force AH-64D at the Farnborough Airshow, 2006
The Dutch government initially showed an interest in acquiring Apache
helicopters in the late 1980s, where it stated that it may purchase as
many as 52. A competition held in 1994 against the Eurocopter
Tiger and the Bell AH-1 Super
Cobra led to the Royal
Force ordering 30 AH-64D Apaches in 1995. Deliveries
began in 1998 and ended in 2002. The RNLAF Apaches are
equipped with the Apache Modular Aircraft
(AMASE) self-protection system to counter infrared (IR) missile
The RNLAF Apaches' first deployment was in 2001 to Djibouti,
Africa. They were also deployed alongside U.S. AH-64s in support
of NATO peacekeeping forces in
Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 2004,
six Dutch AH-64s were deployed as part of the
Multinational force in Iraq
Multinational force in Iraq to support the Dutch ground
forces. The Apaches performed close combat support and display of
force missions, along with providing reconnaissance information to
ground forces. In February 2006, the
Netherlands contribution to NATO
Afghanistan was increased from 600 to 1,400 troops and 6
AH-64s were sent in support.
Royal Netherlands Air Force
Royal Netherlands Air Force AH-64D Apache from the Apache Solo
Shortly after Apaches were deployed to Hamid Karzai International
Airport, as part of the
Netherlands contribution to ISAF, on 10 April
2004, a pair of Dutch Apaches came under light gunfire close to the
Kabul. On 17 December 2007, an RNLAF Apache flew into power lines
during a night flying exercise in the Netherlands, forcing an
emergency landing and causing a lengthy blackout in the region.
On 17 March 2015, a RNLAF Apache crashed during a training mission in
Mali. Both pilots died. The Ministry of Defense opened an
investigation into the cause of the crash.
In February 2018, the
Netherlands requested that all its AH-64Ds to be
remanufactured to the E configuration, along with 17 APG-78 fire
control radar units.
Following the 1991 Gulf War, during which many U.S. Apaches operated
from bases within Saudi territory,
Saudi Arabia purchased
twelve AH-64As for the Royal Saudi Land Force. It has been
speculated that the Saudi purchase had motivated
Israel to also
procure the Apaches. In August 2006, the Saudi Arabian government
began negotiations for Apache upgrades worth up to $400M, possibly
remanufacturing their AH-64As to the AH-64D Longbow
configuration. In September 2008, the U.S. Government approved
the purchase of 12 AH-64Ds requested by Saudi Arabia. In October
Saudi Arabia requested a further 70 AH-64Ds as part of a
possible, massive arms deal.
In November 2009, the Royal Saudi Land Force, as part of a military
effort against insurgent intrusions of the kingdom's border, started
using the Apache in Operation Scorched Earth; this also involved
launching air strikes against
Houthi rebels operating inside
neighboring Yemen. In January 2010 the rebels claimed to
have shot down an Apache; this was denied by the Saudi military.
In late January 2010, the leader of the Shiite rebels announced their
withdrawal from Saudi territory, this announcement followed a key
battle on 12 January when Saudi forces reportedly took control of the
border village of Al Jabiri.
On 17 March 2017, an Apache[not in citation given] helicopter was
reportedly involved in the attack on a Somali refugee boat in which 42
refugees were killed.
Saudi Arabia denied involvement though it is the
only military in the Yemeni Civil War.
In 1995, the
Egyptian Air Force
Egyptian Air Force placed an order for 36 AH-64A
helicopters. These Apaches were delivered with the same avionics
as the U.S. fleet at that time, except for indigenous radio
equipment. In 2000,
Boeing announced an order to remanufacture
Egypt's existing Apache fleet to the AH-64D configuration, except
for Longbow radar, which had been refused by the U.S. government.
Egypt requested a further 12 AH-64D Block II Apaches with Longbow
radars through a Foreign Military Sale in 2009.
In August 2012, the Egyptian Armed Forces undertook a large-scale
military operation to regain control of the
Sinai Peninsula from armed
militants. Air cover throughout the operation was provided by the
Egyptian Air Force's Apache helicopters; reportedly the Apaches
destroyed three vehicles and killed at least 20 militants. Up to
five Egyptian Apaches were temporarily stationed in the Sinai
following an agreement between
Egypt and Israel. In September
2015, an Egyptian Apache attacked a group of foreign tourists in the
Western Desert, killing 12 people and injuring 10. They were mistaken
for Islamist militants. The Egyptian Interior Ministry stated that the
group were in a restricted area.
Singapore Air Force AH-64D on static display, note the
swept wing tip on the main rotor blades
United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates purchased 30 AH-64A helicopters in 1991 and
1994, and began upgrading to AH-64D specification in 2008.
In December 2016, the U.S. State Department approved a proposed sale
of another 37 AH-64E helicopters and Congress was notified; this
consist of 28 re-manufactured and nine new-build helicopters.
Kuwait purchased 16 Longbow helicopters.
Greece received 20 AH-64As by 1995; another 12 AH-64Ds were ordered in
Singapore purchased 20 AH-64Ds aircraft in two batches between 1999
and 2001. In October 2010 Apache training was suspended following
the forced crash-landing of an Apache.
Japan ordered 50 AH-64Ds, which were built under license by Fuji
Heavy Industries, designated "AH-64DJP". The first helicopter was
delivered to the JGSDF in early 2006. The order was halted after
13 aircraft were delivered due to cost. In 2017 it was announced
that the targeting systems of the 13 aircraft would be upgraded.
One of the 13 was destroyed in a crash in February 2018 with the
deaths of both crew.
Taiwan (Republic of China) reached an agreement with the U.S. to
purchase 30 AH-64Es with weapons, and associated equipment in June
2011. On 5 November 2013,
Taiwan received the first 6
AH-64s. On 25 April 2014, a Taiwanese AH-64E crashed into a
three-story building during a training flight in bad weather
conditions, the first airframe loss of an AH-64E. An
investigation ruled out mechanical failure and concluded human error
as responsible, that the pilots descended too fast through clouds at
low altitude without checking flight panels to maintain adequate
height; the Army responded by stepping up simulator training for
pilots. In October 2014, the fifth and final batch of AH-64Es was
delivered to Taiwan, completing the order.
South Korea showed interest in acquiring Apaches,
potentially related to U.S. plans to withdraw many of its Apaches from
the country. On 21 September 2012, the U.S. Congress was notified
of the possible purchase of 36 AH-64D Block III Apaches, along with
associated equipment and armament. The Apache competed against
Bell AH-1Z Viper
Bell AH-1Z Viper and the TAI/
AgustaWestland T-129; in April
South Korea announced that it would purchase 36 AH-64Es.
The first four AH-64Es were delivered in May 2016, and all 36
were deployed by January 2017.
Future and possible users
In 2008, the
Indian Air Force
Indian Air Force (IAF) released a tender for 22 attack
helicopters; there were six contending submissions—Sikorsky's UH-60
Black Hawk, the AH-64D, Bell's AH-1 Super Cobra, Eurocopter's Tiger,
Mil's Mi-28 and AgustaWestland's A129 Mangusta. In October 2008,
Boeing and Bell withdrew. In 2009, the competition was
restarted. In December 2010,
India requested the possible
sale of 22 Apaches and associated equipment. On 5 October 2012,
IAF Chief NAK Browne confirmed the Apache's selection. The IAF
sought control of the 22 proposed Apaches for air combat missions,
while the Army Aviation Corps argued that they would be better used in
army operations. In April 2013, the Indian Ministry of Defence
(MoD) decided that the IAF would receive the 22 AH-64s.
In May 2013, the
Indian Army requested 11 AH-64Es; and has a
requirement for 39 Apaches. The Indian Ministry of Defence
approved the procurement in August 2014, as did India's Cabinet
Committee on Security (CCS) in September 2015. On 28 September
2015, a contract was formally signed; the first helicopter is expected
to be delivered to
India in the next three to four years. India's
Defence Acquisition Council approved procurement of 6 Apaches for the
Indian Army in August 2017.
On 26 August 2013, the U.S. and
Indonesia formalized a $500 million
deal for 8 AH-64E Apaches. Displayed in 2017 as part of military
exercise in Indonesia, to mark the 72nd anniversary of its armed
Iraq requested the sale of 24 AH-64s in April 2013; In January
2014, a sale, including the helicopters, associated parts,
maintenance, and training, was cleared by Congress. However,
the proposal was not accepted by the Iraqi government and expired in
In July 2012,
Qatar requested the sale of 24 AH-64D Apache Block III
helicopters, with associated equipment, training, and support.
The sale was approved on 27 March 2014.
In July 2016, the UK placed an order for 50 AH-64Es through the US
Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme instead of upgrading their
IAF AH-64A Peten
The AH-64A is the original production attack helicopter. The crew sit
in tandem in an armored compartment. It is powered by two GE T700
turboshaft engines. The A-model was equipped with the −701 engine
version until 1990 when the engines were switched to the more powerful
U.S. Army AH-64As are being converted to AH-64Ds. The service's last
AH-64A was taken out of service in July 2012 before conversion at
Boeing's facility in Mesa, Arizona. On 25 September 2012, Boeing
received a $136.8M contract to remanufacture the last 16 AH-64As into
the AH-64D Block II version and this was forecast to be completed by
In 1991, after Operation Desert Storm, the AH-64B was a proposed
upgrade to 254 AH-64As. The upgrade would have included new rotor
Global Positioning System
Global Positioning System (GPS), improved navigation systems
and new radios. U.S. Congress approved $82M to begin the Apache B
upgrade. The B program was canceled in 1992. The radio,
navigation, and GPS modifications, were later installed on most
A-model Apaches through other upgrades.
Additional funding from Congress in late 1991 resulted in a program to
upgrade AH-64As to an AH-64B+ version. More funding changed the plan
to upgrade to AH-64C. The C upgrade would include all changes to be
included in the Longbow except for mast-mounted radar and newer
−700C engine versions. However, the C designation was dropped after
1993. With AH-64As receiving the newer engine from 1990, the only
difference between the C model and the radar-equipped D model was the
radar, which could be moved from one aircraft to another; thus the
decision was made to simply designate both versions "AH-64D".
The AH-64D Apache Longbow is equipped with a glass cockpit and
advanced sensors, the most noticeable of which being the AN/APG-78
Longbow millimeter-wave fire-control radar (FCR) target acquisition
system and the Radar Frequency
Interferometer (RFI), housed in a dome
located above the main rotor. The radome's raised position
enables target detection while the helicopter is behind obstacles
(e.g. terrain, trees or buildings). The AN/APG-78 is capable of
simultaneously tracking up to 128 targets and engaging up to 16 at
once, an attack can be initiated within 30 seconds. A radio
modem integrated with the sensor suite allows data to be shared with
ground units and other Apaches; allowing them to fire on targets
detected by a single helicopter.
The aircraft is powered by a pair of uprated
T700-GE-701C engines. The
forward fuselage was expanded to accommodate new systems to improve
survivability, navigation, and 'tactical internet' communications
capabilities. In February 2003, the first Block II Apache was
delivered to the U.S. Army, featuring digital communications upgrades.
The Japanese Apache AH-64DJP variant is based on the AH-64D; it
can be equipped with the
AIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missiles for
AH-64E Apache Guardian
Formerly known as AH-64D Block III, in 2012, it was redesignated as
AH-64E Guardian to represent its increased
capabilities. The AH-64E features improved digital
connectivity, the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System, more
powerful T700-GE-701D engines with upgraded face gear transmission to
accommodate more power, capability to control unmanned aerial
vehicles (UAVs), full IFR capability, and improved landing
gear. New composite rotor blades, which successfully
completed testing in 2004, increase cruise speed, climb rate, and
payload capacity. Deliveries began in November 2011.
Full-rate production was approved on 24 October 2012, with 634
AH-64Ds to be upgraded to AH-64E standard and production of 56
new-build AH-64Es to start in 2019/20. Changes in production lots
4 through 6 shall include a cognitive decision aiding system and new
self-diagnostic abilities. The updated Longbow radar has an oversea
capacity, potentially enabling naval strikes; an
AESA radar is under
consideration. The E model is to be fit for maritime
operations. The Army has expressed a desire to add extended-range
fuel tanks to the AH-64E to further increase range and endurance.
AH-64Es are to have the
L-3 Communications MUM-TX datalink installed
in place of two previous counterparts, communicating on C, D, L, and
Ku frequency bands to transmit and receive data and video with all
Army UAVs. Lots 5 and 6 will be equipped with Link 16
Boeing conceptualized an Apache upgrade prior to the
introduction of the U.S. Army's anticipated attack version of the
Future Vertical Lift aircraft, forecast to replace the Apache by 2040.
The conceptual AH-64F would have greater speed via a new 3,000 shp
turboshaft engine from the improved turbine engine program,
retractable landing gear, stub wings to offload lift from the main
rotor during cruise, and a tail rotor that can articulate 90 degrees
to provide forward thrust. In October 2016, the Army revealed
they would not pursue another Apache upgrade to focus on funding the
FVL; the Army will continue buying the Apache through the 2020s until
Boeing's production line ends in 2026, then FVL is slated to come
online in 2030.
A U.S. Army AH-64A Apache aboard USS Nassau during Joint
Shipboard Weapons and Ordnance training
During the 1980s naval versions of the AH-64A for the United States
Marine Corps and Navy were examined. Multiple concepts were
studied with altered landing gear arrangements, improved avionics and
weapons. The USMC was very interested and conducted a two-week
evaluation of the Apache in September 1981, including shipboard
Funding for a naval version was not provided; the Marine Corps
continued to use the AH-1. The Canadian Forces Maritime Command
also examined a naval Apache. In 2004, British Army
AgustaWestland Apaches were deployed upon the Royal Navy's
HMS Ocean, a Landing Platform Helicopter, for suitability
testing; there was U.S. interest in the trials.
During the 2011 military intervention in Libya, the British Army
extensively used Apaches from HMS Ocean. In 2013, U.S. 36th
Combat Aviation Brigade AH-64Ds were tested on a variety of U.S. Navy
Several models have been derived from both AH-64A and AH-64D for
export. The British-built
AgustaWestland Apache (assembled from kits
purchased from Boeing) is based on the AH-64D Block I with several
different systems, including more powerful engines, folding rotor
blades, and other modifications for operation from
Royal Navy vessels.
While a major change in design or role will cause the type designator
suffix to change, for example from AH-64D to AH-64E, the helicopters
are also subject to block modification. Block modification is the
combining of equipment changes into blocks of modification work
orders, the modifications in the block (sometimes called a block
package) are all done to the helicopter at the same time.
Hellenic Army AH-64A
Saudi Arabian National Guard
Saudi Arabian National Guard AH-64 Apache
Egyptian Air Force
Egyptian Air Force (AH-64D)
Hellenic Army (AH-64A/D)
Indian Air Force
Indian Air Force (AH-64E: 22 on order)
Indonesian Army (AH-64E: 8 on order, first delivery in December
Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force (AH-64A/D)
Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (AH-64D)
US Army ski equipped AH-64 training Fort Wainwright, Alaska
Kuwait Air Force (AH-64D)
Royal Netherlands Air Force
Royal Netherlands Air Force (AH-64D)
Qatar Emiri Air Force (AH-64E: 24 on order)
Royal Saudi Land Forces
Royal Saudi Land Forces (AH-64A/D/E)
Saudi Arabia National Guard (AH-64E)
Singapore Air Force (AH-64D)
Republic of Korea Army
Republic of Korea Army (AH-64E)
Republic of China Army
Republic of China Army (AH-64E)
Fuji Heavy Industries
Fuji Heavy Industries licensed built Apache for the JDSDF
United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates Air Force (AH-64D)
United States Army (AH-64D/E)
Weapon loadout of the AH-64 Apache
Data from Jane's Information Group, Bishop
Crew: 2 (pilot, and co-pilot/gunner)
Length: 58.17 ft (17.73 m) (with both rotors turning)
Rotor diameter: 48 ft 0 in (14.63 m)
Height: 12.7 ft (3.87 m)
Disc area: 1,809.5 ft² (168.11 m²)
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)
Fuselage length: 49 ft 5 in (15.06 m)
Rotor systems: 4 blade main rotor, 4 blade tail rotor in
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
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)
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)
Disc loading: 9.80 lb/ft² (47.9 kg/m²)
Power/mass: 0.18 hp/lb (0.31 kW/kg)
Guns: 1× 30 mm (1.18 in)
M230 Chain Gun
M230 Chain Gun with 1,200 rounds as
part of the Area Weapon Subsystem
Hardpoints: Four pylon stations on the stub wings. Longbows also have
a station on each wingtip for an
AIM-92 Stinger twin missile pack.
Hydra 70 70 mm,
CRV7 70 mm, and
APKWS 70 mm air-to-ground
AGM-114 Hellfire variants;
AIM-92 Stinger and
Spike missiles may also be carried.
Lockheed Martin / Northrop
Grumman AN/APG-78 Longbow fire-control
radar (Note: can only be mounted on the AH-64D/E)
Notable appearances in media
Main article: AH-64 Apache in fiction
Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center
United States Army Aviation and Missile Command
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Agusta A129 Mangusta
Bell AH-1Z Viper
List of active
United States military aircraft
List of aviation shootdowns and accidents during the Iraq War
List of rotorcraft
Israel had already used "Tzefa" (צפע), Hebrew for Viper to name
its Bell AH-1 Cobras. Donald 2004 states Peten translates to
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to AH-64 Apache.
AH-64 Apache page on Boeing.com
AH-64 Apache U.S. Army fact file (archived from the original on
Apache overview with supporting images on HowStuffWorks.com
Top 10: Helicopters – AH-64D Apache. Discovery Channel, 8 May 2007.
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