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Defence Projects

Apache AH MK 1


 Apache AH Mk1

The Apache AH Mk1 is based on the Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow which is used by the US army.

The AH Mk1 will replace the Army’s Lynx/TOW helicopters and will be the key equipment within the Army’s new Air Assault brigade.

The 16 Air Assault Brigade will be an airborne strike force capable of rapid deployment into war zones.

The project has been managed by an Integrated Project Team (IPT) since November 1998 as part of the Government’s SMART procurement initiative.

The UK MoD ordered 67 Apache based on the US Army AH-64D manufactured by Boeing in 1995. Boeing built the first eight aircraft, and partially assembled the other 59.

The UK Westland helicopter company undertook final assembly, flight testing and programme support at their Yeovil factory. Full operating capability for all three Apache Attack Regiments was achieved mid 2007.

Costs / Quantities

The overall Attack Helicopter contract value is approximately £2.5 billion, including 67 aircraft, spares and support equipment.

The PFI training contract with ATIL is worth approximately £1100 million over 30 years and the munitions contract with INSYS is worth approximately £350 million.

Commercial Aspects

The main UK companies involved in the Apache project are:

Westland Helicopters Ltd (WHL) – Apache AH Mk 1 Prime contractor
Aviation Training International Ltd (ATIL) – PFI Training Service Contractor
Rolls Royce Turbomeca – Turbomeca RTM322 engines
BAE Systems – Helicopter Integrated Defensive Aid Suite (HIDAS)
Insys – Munitions

Apache AH Mk1 Characteristics

It is believed that there will be 48 operational aircraft in three regiments (each of 16 aircraft). The remaining 19 aircraft will be used for trials, training and a war maintenance reserve (WMR).

The Apache can operate in all weathers, day or night, and can detect, classify and prioritise up to 256 potential targets at a time. Apart from the ‘Longbow’ mast-mounted fire control radar, the aircraft is equipped with a 127 x magnification TV system, 36 x magnification thermal imaging, and 18 x magnification direct view optics.

The missile system incorporates Semi-Active Laser and Radio Frequency versions of the Hellfire missile, whose range is at least 6 kms. Apart from the Rolls-Royce engines, specific British Army requirements include a secure communications suite and a Helicopter Integrated Defensive Aids System (HIDAS). Programme cost is some £3 billion.

It is believed that an air to air weapon capability will continue to be investigated and trials of the Shorts Starstreak missile onboard an AH 64 have continued in the US. Any longer term decision to proceed will be based on the results of these US Army trials. The night vision system of 67 Apache AH Mk1 attack helicopters is to be upgraded in the near future.

The M-TADS/PNVS, which is designated Arrowhead, will replace the existing forward-looking infra-red (FLIR) and daylight television image intensifier with new sensors to provide improved target identification over longer ranges, better pilot performance and reduced life-cycle costs. Army Air Corps (AAC) aviators are said to have been keen to proceed with the upgrade, because the damp UK climate significantly degrades the effectiveness of the existing Target Acquisition and Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor

The Apache AH Mk 1 presents a completely new capability for the AAC with significant implications for Air Manoeuvre doctrine in Land and Joint Operations.


The Apache certainly gives the British Army the ‘punch’ necessary for operations during the next decade.

The Hellfire anti-tank guided guided missile (ATGW) has a range approaching 6 kms and is capable of defeating all types of armour.

The missile has a length of 1.78 metres and weighs 43.1 kg. The guidance system is semi-active laser homing.

It is believed that an air-to-air weapon capability will continue to be investigated and trials of the Shorts Starstreak missile onboard an AH-64 will continue in the US. Any longer term decision to proceed will be based on the results of these US Army trials.

These aircraft had a significant effect upon operations during the 1991 Gulf War where the US Army deployed 288 x AH-64 Apache in 15 Army Aviation battalions. The US Army claimed that these aircraft destroyed 120 x APCs, 500 x MBT, 120 x artillery guns, 10 radar installations, 10 x helicopters, 30 x air defence units, about 300 soft-skinned vehicles and 10 x fixed-wing aircraft on the ground. 

A single Army Aviation AH-64 battalion is believed to have destroyed 40 x APCs and over 100 x MBT in an engagement that lasted over three hours, firing 107 Hellfire missiles and over 300 x 70 mm rockets.

APACHE (AH Mk1) Specifications
67 Delivered
Gross Mission Weight 7,746kgs (17,077lb)
Cruise Speed at 500 metres 272km/h
Maximum Range (Internal Fuel with 20 minute reserve) 462kms
General Service Ceiling 3,505 metres (11,500ft)
Crew 2

Carries 16 x Hellfire II missiles (range 6,000 metres approx)

76 x 2.75" rockets

1,200 x 30mm cannon rounds

4 x Air-to-Air-Missiles

Engines 2 x Rolls Royce RTM-332



- Test Equipment

SELEX SENSORS AND AIRBORNE SYSTEMS (S&AS) - Selex provide the Defensive Aid Systems


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