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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
Gross Mission Weight
at 500 metres 272km/h
(Internal Fuel with 20 minute reserve) 462kms
General Service Ceiling
3,505 metres (11,500ft)
Carries 16 x Hellfire II missiles (range
6,000 metres approx)
76 x 2.75"
x 30mm cannon rounds
2 x Rolls Royce RTM-332
COMPANIES INVOLVED WITH THIS PROJECT