AH-64E Apache Attack Helicopters of United States – Apache Guardian – World’s Premier Attack Helicopter
AH-64E Apache Attack Helicopter of United States is the world’s premier attack helicopter. Apache entered in service of United States Air Force in 2011.
The AH-64E attack helicopter is the latest version of the AH-64, used by the US Army. It is also known as Apache Guardian. Until 2012 it was designated as AH-64D Block III. It has a number of improvements and upgrades, including more powerful engines, upgraded transmission and other improvements. This gunship might be also fitted with updated Longbow fire control radar. The US Army plan to upgrade a total of 634 AH-64D helicopters to AH-64E standard. It is planned that another 56 helicopters will be newly built. Deliveries to the US Army began in 2011.
Export of AH-64E
This attack helicopter has been approved for export. Export operators are India, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan. India ordered 22 of these gunships. Deliveries commenced in 2019. Also this helicopter has been ordered by other countries. Indonesia ordered 8 of these gunships, Qatar 24, South Korea 36, and the United Arab Emirates 30. In 2014 Iraq ordered 24 of these helicopters, but later cancelled this order. In 2015 the United Kingdom has requested to remanufacture 50 of its WAH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters of this latest AH-64E standard.
This helicopter is fitted with more powerful General Electric T700-GE-701D engines, developing 1 994 shp instead on the 1 800 shp on the previous versions. Also it has upgraded transmission to coupe with extra power. The AH-64E has new composite rotor blades. These are designed to withstand hits from 23 mm anti-aircraft guns. Maximum speed of this helicopter is up to 300 km/h.
This gunship comes with new sensors, avionics and has improved night operation capabilities. Furthermore the AH-64E helicopter can control a couple of UAVs.
This attack helicopter is operated by a crew of 2, including pilot and gunner.
There are numerous features to protect the crew and increase survivability of the helicopter. The airframe is designed to withstand hits from guns of up to 12.7 mm caliber. Rotor blades can withstand hits from 23 mm guns. A large flat-plate canopy is fitted with boran armor. Crew members are seated on crash-resistant seats.
The AH-64E has infra-red suppressing exhaust system and is equipped with chaff and flare dispensers. Bothe of these features combined reduce the chance of being hit by enemy air defense missiles.
Both crew members use various sophisticated sensors and systems for the detection and attack of targets. Their helmets have an integrated helmet sighting system.
The AH-64E comes with a 30 mm M230 cannon with 1 200 rounds of ammunition. It has 4 hardpoint on stub wings and can carry various missiles. Armament is being tailored, depending on mission requirements. The AH-64E can carry up to 16 AGM-114R Hellfire-2 anti-tank guided missiles. For self defense against hostile helicopters the Apache Guardian can carry up to two AIM-9 Sidewinder, four AIM-92 Stinger, or four Mistral air-to-air missiles. It can also carry two AGM-122 Sidearm air-to-ground anti-radiation missiles, that can target hostile radars. The gunship is often equipped with 19-shot pods with Hydra 70 unguided rockets. The helicopter can carry up to 4 of these pods.
This attack helicopter might be fitted with a Longbow fire control radar, which is also used on the previous AH-64D variant. It gives the capability to fire AGM-114R Hellfire-2 anti-tank guided missiles in fire-and-forget mode. Without this radar the Hellfire-2 missiles are launched in the line-of-sight manner. The radar can detect, classify and prioritise 12 targets simultaneously, and can see through the fog an smoke, that foils infra-red or TV sensors.