AH-64A Apache Attack Helicopter


In service since 1986, the Apache AH-64A helicopter was primarily designed as a tank-killer. It was envisioned that fleets of Apache helicopters would be able to counter the Soviet Union's 4 to 1 numeric superiority in tanks on the plains of Europe. In the anti-armor role, the Apache can carry 16 laser-guided AGM-114 missiles. Hovering amongst the trees or behind terrain, the Apache can pop up and engage targets then retreat behind cover. In the close support role the Apache's rocket pods and 30mm cannon can bring devastating firepower to bear against a ride range of enemy units.
apache attack helicopter
An Apache battalion is made up of 18 AH-64As and 13 OH-58D Kiowas. The Kiowas scout ahead and find targets for the Apaches. The smaller and more agile Kiowa is more likely to remain undetected. When it finds a target it can 'paint' it with its mast-mounted laser. The Apache can remain hidden behind terrain and still engage the target with its Hellfire laser-guided missiles.

AH-64A Apache Video

report on Apache operations in Iraq - US DoD (released)
combat footage of an Ah-64a Apache engaging insurgent forces in Iraq - US DoD (released)

  • cockpits surrounded by Boron armor
  • crash-resistant airframe, energy absorbing crew seats and landing gear
  • airframe and rotors are able to withstand hits up to 23mm caliber hits
  • 4-bladed main rotors made from steel, GRP and composites
  • infra-red dampers on engine outlets reduce the helicopter's heat signature
  • advanced avionics sensors allow the apache to fly and fight in all weathers, day or night
  • redundant fly-by-wire flight systems
  • the Apache AH-64A saw combat for the first time in 1989 during the US invasion of Panama
  • in the opening salvos of Desert Storm, a flight of Apaches, led by MH-53J Pavelows, destroyed Iraqi radar installations
  • over 500 Iraqi tanks were destroyed by AH-64As in Desert Storm
  • Apache squadrons provided close air support to coalition ground forces in Afghanistan, 2001 and on
  • AH-64As engaged Iraqi forces during the US-led invasion in 2003
m230 chain gun
The Apache's M230 30mm chain gun fires at 65 rounds per minute. The gun is slaved to the aircrew's helmets meaning wherever they look, the gun points. The Apache carries up to 1200 rounds of ammo for this devastating weapon.

The Apache AH-64A has had a distinguished combat record. It was to prove its worth against large tank formations in 1991 during Desert Storm, the US-led action to repel Iraqi forces from Kuwait. The Apache helicopter's ability to fly and fight at night meant it owned the battlefield, often engaging targets from over 5km distance without being detected by the enemy. Such long range target acquisition is facilitated by the sophisticated on-board avionics. These include the Target Acquisition Designation Sight (TADS) and Pilot Night Vision System (PNVS).
TADS is a suite of electro-optical sensors mounted on the helicopter's nose which features a thermal imaging camera, a daylight video camera, laser range finder and laser target designator. The TADS can be 'slaved' to the crew's helmet movements and projected onto their helmet-mounted displays.
PVNS is an infra-red camera that is also slaved to the pilot's helmet. This system allows the apache to operate at night.
The Apache also carries a suite of defensive countermeasures which include infra-red jammers and decoy flares.

AH-64A Apache Specifications

Crew2 - With Pilot seated above and behind Weapons Systems Officer
EnginesTwo T700-GE-701Cs
DimensionsL - 17.73m
W - 5.227m
H - 4.64m
Weights11,800 lbs (empty)
15,075 lbs (standard loudout)
Max Speed150 kt (279 kph)
Range400 km - internal fuel
1,900 km - internal and external fuel
ArmamentM230 30mm Cannon (typical loudout of 1200 rounds)
Hydra 70mm FFAR Folding Fin Aerial Rockets (in pods of 19)
AGM-114 Hellfire Missiles (up to 16)
Stinger AIM-92 air-to-air missiles
AvionicsTADS (AN/ASQ-170)
Honeywell Integrated Helmet And Display Sighting System (IHADSS)
AN/APR-39A(V) radar warning receiver
AN/ALQ-144 infra-red countermeasures
AN/AVR-2 laser warning receiver
AN/ALQ-136(V) radar jammer
apache helicopter
AH64-A Apache - note the TADS and PNVS clearly visible in the nose of the helicopter.
apache iraqapache in flightapache helicopter in afghanistan apache gunship in iraqapache desert shield
(click thumbnails for fullsize images)
photo gallery : ah-64a apache 


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