The Apache AH-64 helicopter is the current workhorse of the US Military. The need for an attack helicopter started after the war in Vietnam when a lot of Huey helicopters were fitted with attack rockets. Although the Huey did its job properly as an armed transport helicopter, as an attach chopper it left a bitter taste, over 5000 people dying in it!
Thus the Apache was created. The first one flew in 1975, and after proving its worth, in 1983 the assembly line started rolling aircraft after aircraft at a price of 18 million US dollars.
Since then the Apache participated in every US-backed war, but most notably in Desert Storm in 1990, the second Iraq war in 2003, and in the war on terror in Afghanistan in 2001.
There are 4 versions of the Apache helicopter (AH-64A, AH-64B, AH-64C, AH-64D). The AH-64D also known as the Apache Longbow attack helicopter is currently the most powerful attack helicopter in use. It’s being produced by Boeing since 1997, and is used by USA, Singapore and Kuwait.
The aircraft is powered by 2 General Electric turbo engines (T700-GE-701C) each producing 1940 HP (almost a 250HP increase from the original AH-64A Apache).
Here are some other stats:
- Crew 1Pilot + 1Copilot
- 1 M230E1 30mm Cannon with 1200 projectiles
- 2 PRND 70mm FFAR
- 16 BGM-71 TOW rockets
- AGM-114A/F/L/K HELLFIRE
- 2 AIM-9 SIDEWINDER rockets
- 4 AIM-92A STNGER rockets
- AIM-122 SIDEARM
- Fuel tanks
Although it’s had some hick-ups (like the constant damage sustained by enemy fire in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the loss of 3 units), it’s still the best, especially the AH-64D with its upgraded sensors and targeting systems.
Apache Ah-64 in action in Afghanistan: