Boeing AH-64 Apache

The Boeing AH-64 Apache is a tandem two-seat attack helicopter. Is designed by Hughes, sold to McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company in January 1984, and now in production by Boeing after the take over of McDonnell Douglas in August 1997.

The Apache is specially designed to operate at night, the two censors located on the nose make this possible. The basic principle that makes vision at night reality, is called FLIR (Forward Looking Infra-Red). All objects have a certain temperature, by measuring differences in that temperature a video-image can be produced that can be produced that can be used for both flying and target acquisition/designation.

The pilot uses the so-called Pilot Night Vision Sensor (PNVS) located on the top of the nose, this device produces the FLIR-imagery used for flying. The co-pilot/gunner primarily uses the Target Acquisition and Designation System (TADS) to find and engage targets, the TADS can also be used as a backup vision-device for flying.

The AH-64 Apache’s? PIC (Pilot In Command) in the back-seat and pilot/gunner in the front seat, are players in a real-life, hi-tech video game. Able to operate in any weather, Apache gunners can acquire multiple targets and ripple-fire their full range of weapons. A pair of Apaches could rip through a convoy in minutes. The AH-64A was essentially an analogue aircraft on a digital battle field. The AH-64″D” model is a further development, which is a fully digitized (four dual-channel MIL-STD 1553B data-busses) platform and some of them have the mushroom-shaped radar, only they have the name Apache Longbow.

The Longbow Fire Control Radar with its distinctive mast-mounted antenna is a 35 GHz radar system for the detection, location, classification and prioritization of tactical targets.

The Boeing AH-64D is armed with the Lockheed Martin/Boeing AGM-114D Longbow Hellfire air-to-surface missile which has a millimeter wave seeker which allows the missile to perform in full fire and forget mode. Range is 8km to 12km.

The first of the upgraded Block II Apaches was delivered to the US Army in February 2003. Block II includes upgrades to the digital communications systems to improve communications within the “tactical internet”. Block III improvements, slated for 2008 on, include increasing digitization, capability to control UAV’s and new composite rotor blade.

Westland WAH-64 Apache Longbow

59 Westland WAH-64 Apache Longbow are built under license in the UK by GKN-Westland Helicopters Limited at Yeovilton. The first 8 WAH-64 were built by Boeing at Mesa Arizona. Ministry of Defense UK specified a number of different equipments to be incorporated on WAH-64. These included:

  • Rolls Royce Turbomeca RTM322 engines.
  • A state of the art Helicopter Integrated Defensive Aids Suite (HIDAS).
  • A deicing system for rotor blade operation in cold weather.
  • CRV7 2.75 inch rockets made by Bristol Aerospace of Canada.
  • Folding blades, to facilitate operations from ships.
  • A Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS). HUMS will record accurately WAH-64 flight data (such as engine temperatures and rotor torque) to make maintenance easy.
  • SATURN (a new NATO UHF secure radio) and BOWMAN (British Army combat radio)
  • Air-to-air missile for self protection.

All British Apaches have standard the Longbow Radar.

Data from Jane’s Information Group Apache AH-64

General characteristics

  • 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)
  • Powerplant: 2× General Electric T700-GE-701 and later upgraded to T700-GE-701C (1990–present) & T700-GE-701D (AH-64D block III) turboshafts, -701: 1,690 shp, -701C: 1,890 shp, -701D: 2,000 shp (-701: 1,260 kW, -701C: 1,490 kW, -701D: 1,490 kW) each
  • Fuselage length: 49 ft 5 in (15.06 m)
  • Rotor systems: 4 blade main rotor, 4 blade tail rotor in non-orthogonal alignment


  • 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 (310 W/kg)


  • Guns: 1× 30 × 113 mm (1.18 × 4.45 in) M230 Chain Gun with 1,200 rounds
  • Hardpoints: Up to 6 pylon stations on stub wing
  • Rockets: Hydra 70 air-to-ground rockets
  • Missiles: combination of AGM-114 Hellfire, AIM-9 Sidewinder, and AIM-92 Stinger


  • Lockheed Martin / Northrop Grumman AN/APG-78 Longbow fire-control radar (Note: can only be mounted on the AH-64D)

AH-64 Apache operators:

Department of Defense USA. 6 YAH-64 pre-production aircraft
US Army. 821 AH-64A Apache 501 up-grade to AH-64D
Israel. -18  AH-64A Petan  12 up-grade to AH-64D
-28  AH-64A Apache ex US Army 4 up-grade to AH-64D
-13   AH-64D Petan delivery 2004
Egypt. 35  AH-64A Apache 35 up-grade to AH-64D
Greece. 19  AH-64A Apache                        12  AH-64D Apache Longbow
Japan. 50 or 55 AH-64D Apache Longbow on order
Kuwait. 16 AH-64D Apache Longbow
Netherlands. 12  AH-64A Apache*
30  AH-64D Apache**
Saudi-Arabia. 12  AH-64A Apache and want to buy 12  AH-64D and update the AH-64A
Singapore. 8    AH-64D Apache
United Arab Emirates. 30  AH-64A Apache
United Kingdom.  67 WAH-64D Longbow Apache

*12 AH-64A Apache Netherlands leased from the US Army from November 13, 1996 till February 19, 2001 for US $1 each.

** 6 AH-64D are at Forth Hood, TX USA for training and live shooting, and from January 2004 there are 6 AH-64D’s for sale.

AH-64 Apache in combat:

Operation Just Cause December 19th 1989:

US Army Apache helicopters played a key role in the 1989 action in Panama, where much of the activity was at night, when the AH-64A’s advanced sensors and sighting systems were effective against anti-government forces.

Desert Storm 17 January – 28 February 1991:

Apaches destroyed vital early warning radar sites, in the first hours of operation Desert Storm, AH-64A’s were credited with destroying more then 500 battle tanks, 10 helicopters, 10 airplanes plus hundreds of additional armored personnel carriers, trucks and other vehicles. One Apache was lost in combat during Desert Storm.

Israel: October 24,1991 –

Since October 24, 1991 Israeli Apaches are in combat, the first raid was in Lebanon, against Hezbolla and the Palestine people.

Deliberate Force: Aug.- Sept. 1994:

AH-64 Apaches also have helped keep the peace in Bosnia and have been called into service in Kosovo by the US Army and the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

Allied Force: 24 March – 10 June 1999:

Two AH-64A’s were crashed during night training missions in Albania for Allied Force operations, two crew-members killed.

Djibouti: February – June 2001:

Dutch AH-64D were the first Delta’s deployed to a war zone, stationed in Djibouti, for an UN peace-keeping force (UNMEE) at the border of Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Enduring Freedom 7 October 2001 – :

Three US Army Apaches were crashed and written-off in Afghanistan.

Six Royal Netherlands Air Force AH-64D Apaches are deployed to Kabul from April 1st, 2004 -. In their first week, they were attacked by ground fire, no casualties.

On Sunday August 29, 2004 crashed one AH-64D Apache (reg. Q-20) of the RNLAF with technical problems, the helicopter is written-off, one pilot had light injuries.

Iraqi Freedom 20 March 2003 – :

On March 24, during the war, an AH-64 Apache crashed in a hail of small-arms fire during an assault on Republican Guard forces south of Baghdad. The Apache’s two pilots were held prisoner before being rescued April 13th, 2003.

On June 12th, 2003 an Apache belonging to the Army’s 101st Airborne Division was shot down near the town of Duluiyah, north of Baghdad. Both crew members were rescued.

On January 13th, 2004 an Apache was shot down near the western Iraqi town of Habbaniyah. This was the second of the heavily armed gun-ships downed by guerrilla fire since President Bush declared an end to major combat May 1st, 2003.

Easter Sunday April 11th, 2004  an AH-64 Apache helicopter was downed by ground fire in the morning, during fighting in western Baghdad, killing its two crew members.

A total of 8 Apaches are written-off in Iraq, and 5 are heavily damaged. More than 53 Apaches are damaged, and must be repaired to operational standard.

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