APACHE DELIVERS NEW CAPABILITIES
By Julian Nettlefold
06 Oct 08. During AUSA Colonel Shane Openshaw PM Apache and Al Wynn of Boeing gave an update to the current developments of the Boeing Apache helicopter and the Block 3 enhancements. It is worth looking at the history of the Apache to appreciate the changes being introduced.
Between 1984 and 1997, Boeing produced 937 AH-64As for the U.S. Army, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The combat-proven AH-64A is still in service and includes the following features:
* Two high-performance turboshaft engines and maximum cruise speed of 284 kph
* Laser, infrared, and other systems (including target acquisition designation sight/pilot night vision sensor) to locate, track, and attack targets
* A combination of laser-guided precision Hellfire missiles, 70mm rockets, and a 30mm automatic cannon with up to 1,200 high-explosive, dual-purpose ammunition rounds
AH-64D Apache and AH-64D Apache Longbow
The combat-proven AH-64D Apache and AH-64D Apache Longbow share the following history and characteristics:
* Testing in the late 1990s, delivery in 1997, in production for the U.S. Army and several international customers
* Selection by the U.S. Army, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Republic of Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom (as the AH Mk1)
* Ability to assimilate advancements in digital connectivity, sensors, weapon systems, advanced training devices, and maintenance support systems
Apache Longbow Enhancements
The radar-equipped AH-64D Apache Longbow features numerous enhanced capabilities, including:
* Longer-range weapons accuracy and all-weather/night fighting
* Detection of objects (moving or stationary) without being detected
* Classification and threat-prioritization of up to 128 targets in less than a minute
* Integrated sensors, networking, and digital communications for situational awareness, management of the combat arena in real time, and digital transmission of images and target locations to joint operations battlefield commanders
Boeing announced that the company is working to remanufacture ‘A’ Models to ‘D’ Model configuration. This will bring the total fleet to 634 by 2025.
Through 2006 – remanufactured 501 AH-64As to AH-64Ds
Under contract for 96 additional A to D reman for a total of 597 deliveries through 2010
Under contract for 52 (new build) AH-64Ds as wartime replacement aircraft with deliveries through 2011
Delivery of 1st production AH-64D Apache Block III anticipated in Summer 2011
The upgraded Lockheed Martin MTIDS/PNVS sighting systems continues with 8 battalions fielded with total fleet retrofit taking place in early 2011.
“These enhancements enable better visibility 24/7 for the Apach crews and have enabled them to change tactics. Apaches are now targeting UAVs 24/7 in Baghdad. These operations have increased the kill levels of terrorist and prevented IED explosions as the bombers can be pinpointed using these enhanced optics and targets transferred using VUIT-2, now being installed on a number of machines. There are 2 to 6 Apaches airborne over Baghdad standing off 3-4 miles from targets. 85% of casualties form 3rd Infantry Division have been from IEDs” Col. Openshaw said. (See: LOCKHEED MARTIN VUIT-2 ENTERS SERVICE, BATTLESPACE October 2008).
The Apache VUIT-2 is a kit-based system that enables Apache aircrews to view streaming video from the Shadow, Raven, Hunter, Predator, Warrior A, Reaper and other UAVs.
On July 30th Lockheed Martin received a contract from the Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD) to lead the Apache Video from Unmanned Aircraft Systems for Interoperability Teaming – Level 2 (VUIT-2) program through September 2009.
As the systems integrator, Lockheed Martin will transition VUIT-2 to production. The Army first awarded Lockheed Martin a contract in