Monday, October 3, 2011

AH-64 "Apache"

The Boeing  AH-64A Apache is the Army's primary attack helicopter. It is a quick-reacting, airborne weapon system that can fight close and deep to destroy, disrupt, or delay enemy forces. The Apache has been designed to fight and survive during the day, night, and in adverse weather throughout the world. The principal intended mission of the Apache is the destruction of high-value targets with the HELLFIRE missile, primarily hostile armor. It is also capable of employing a 30mm M230 chain gun and the Hydra 70 (2.75 inch) family of rockets that are lethal against a wide variety of targets. The Apache has a full range of aircraft survivability equipment and has the ability to withstand hits from rounds up to 23mm in critical areas. The AH-64 is air transportable in the C-5, C-141 and C-17.
The AH-64 Apache is a twin-engine, four bladed, multi-mission attack helicopter designed as a highly stable aerial weapons-delivery platform. It is designed to fight and survive during the day, night, and in adverse weather throughout the world. With a tandem-seated crew consisting of the pilot, located in the rear cockpit position and the co-pilot gunner (CPG), located in the front position, the Apache is self-deployable, highly survivable and delivers a lethal array of battlefield armaments. The Apache features a Target Acquisition Designation Sight (TADS) and a Pilot Night Vision Sensor (PNVS) which enables the crew to navigate and conduct precision attacks in day, night and adverse weather conditions.
The Apache program had to the potential evolve into four different models in service simultaneously. These models were, the AH-64A, an AH-64+ with product improvements applied, and an AH-64D Longbow Apache with glass cockpit display, advanced engines, wiring for Longbow systems, radar interferometer, and the Longbow missile system. This AH-64D standard was previously known as AH-64C. Approximately 1/3 of the Longbow fleet was planned to also be equipped with the Longbow millimeter wave fire control radar, the original AH-64D standard. Converting an A model to a D model costs about $10 million. The Longbow FCR adds another $3.6 million to the price tag.
As part of the reduction in the planned buy of the Comanche in late 2002, the Army was directed to formulate a service life extension program for the Apache. Although DoD did not provide the Army a specific end-date for the Apache, the AH-64 Longbow had the potential to remain in service until 2030.
The Apache can carry up to 16 HELLFIRE (Helicopter-Launched, Laser-guided, Fire and Forget) laser guided missiles. With a range of over 8000 meters, the HELLFIRE is used primarily for the destruction of tanks, armored vehicles and other hard materiel targets. The Apache can also deliver a maximum of 76, 70mm/2.75" wrap-around fin aerial rockets (WAFAR) for use against enemy personnel, light armor vehicles and other soft-skinned targets. Rounding out the Apache's deadly punch are 1,200 rounds of ammunition for its Area Weapons System (AWS), featuring the M230 30mm Automatic Gun.An on-board video recorder has the capability of recording up to 72 minutes of either the pilot or CPG selected video. It is an invaluable tool for damage assessment and reconnaissance. The Apache's navigation equipment consists of a doppler navigation system, and most aircraft are equipped with a GPS receiver.

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