The Apache helicopter is similar to a flying tank, it is designed to survive heavy attack and inflict massive damage

 It is a quick-reacting, airborne weapon system that can fight close and deep to destroy, disrupt, or delay enemy forces. The Apache is designed to fight and survive during the day, night, and in adverse weather throughout the world. The principal mission of the Apache is the destruction of high-value targets with the Hellfire missiles. It is also capable of employing a Area Weapons System (AWS) 30 mm M230 chain gun and Hydra 70 (2.75 inch) rockets that are lethal against a wide variety of targets. The Apache has a full range of aircraft survivability equipment and has the ability to withstand hits from rounds up to 23 mm in critical areas.

The AH-64 Apache is a twin-engine, four bladed, multi-mission attack helicopter designed as a highly stable aerial weapons-delivery platform. It is designed to fight and survive during the day, night, and in adverse weather throughout the world. With a tandem-seated crew consisting of the pilot, located in the rear cockpit position and the co-pilot gunner (CPG), located in the front position, the Apache is self-deployable, highly survivable and delivers a lethal array of battlefield armaments. The Apache features a Target Acquisition Designation Sight (TADS) and a Pilot Night Vision Sensor (PNVS) which enables the crew to navigate and conduct precision attacks in day, night and adverse weather conditions as reported by

Apache helicopter: Eight Apache AH-64E combat helicopters were inducted into the Indian Air Force on September 3, 2019. Apache AH-64E is one of the world's most advanced attack helicopters with multi-role combat capabilities. The helicopters will provide a major boost to IAF's combat capabilities.

The induction ceremony of the Apache AH-64E helicopters took place at the Pathankot Air Force station. IAF Chief BS Dhanoa will be the chief guest of the induction ceremony.

Apache AH-64E: Significance

The Apache helicopter comprises the latest technology insertions and it is the only available attack helicopter with varied capabilities that make it suitable for any mission. The Apache’s capabilities range from greater thrust, lift and joint digital operability to cognitive decision aiding and improved survivability.

The Apache helicopter is customised to meet the commander’s needs including security, reconnaissance, lethal attack and peacekeeping operations in both land and littoral zones without the need of reconfiguration.

Apache Helicopter: Key Specifications

Contractors Boeing McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems(Mesa, AZ)
General Electric (Lynn, MA)
Martin Marietta (Orlando, FL)
PropulsionTwo T700-GE-701Cs

AH-64E (IAF Version)

58.17 ft (17.73 m)
Height15.24 ft (4.64 m)
Wing Span17.15 ft (5.227 m)
Primary Mission Gross Weight15,075 lb (6838 kg)
11,800 pounds Empty

Hover In-Ground Effect (MRP)15,895 ft (4845 m)
[Standard Day]
14,845 ft (4525 m)
[Hot Day ISA + 15C]

Hover Out-of-Ground Effect (MRP)12,685 ft (3866 m)
[Sea Level Standard Day]
11,215 ft (3418 m)
[Hot Day 2000 ft 70 F (21 C)]

Vertical Rate of Climb (MRP)2,175 fpm (663 mpm)
[Sea Level Standard Day]
2,050 fpm (625 mpm)
[Hot Day 2000 ft 70 F (21 C)]

Maximum Rate of Climb (IRP)2,915 fpm (889 mpm)
[Sea Level Standard Day]
2,890 fpm (881 mpm)
[Hot Day 2000 ft 70 F (21 C)]

Maximum Level Flight Speed150 kt (279 kph)
[Sea Level Standard Day]
153 kt (284 kph)
[Hot Day 2000 ft 70 F (21 C)]

Cruise Speed (MCP)150 kt (279 kph)
[Sea Level Standard Day]
153 kt (284 kph)
[Hot Day 2000 ft 70 F (21 C)]

Range400 km - internal fuel
1,900 km - internal and external fuel
Table Courtesy: FAS         
The Apache helicopter is similar to a flying tank, it is designed to survive heavy attack and inflict massive damage.

The combat helicopter can zero in on specific targets, regardless of whether it is day or night or even when weather is not suitable.

The Apache is one of the most lethal helicopters with the most advanced flight systems, weapons systems, sensor systems and armour systems.

Apache Double Tail Rotors

The core structure of the helicopter is like any other helicopter. The Apache has double tail rotors with two blades each. However, the rotor is optimised to provide much greater agility than you find in a typical helicopter.

The core structure of each blade comprises five stainless steel arms called spars that are surrounded by a fibreglass skeleton. While the trailing edge of each blade is covered with a sturdy graphite composite material, the leading edge is made of titanium.

The titanium is strong enough to survive brushes with trees and other minor obstacles, which is ideal if the Apache is required to sneak up on targets and to avoid an attack. Further, the Apache's blades and wings detach for easier transport.

Hellfire Missile

The Hellfire missile is the primary weapon of the Apache helicopter. The missile is like a mini aircraft, it has its own guidance computer, steering control and propulsion system.

The missile carries a payload that is highly explosive and powerful enough to take down the heaviest tank.

Apache Hydra Rocket Launchers

The Apache has two Hydra rocket launchers, each launcher carries 19 aerial rockets, secured in launching tubes. The rockets can be fired one at a time or even in groups. The rockets might be armed with high-power explosives or just smoke-producing materials.

In one configuration, the rocket delivers several sub-munitions, small bombs that separate from the rocket in the air and fall on targets below.

Apache Chain Gun

The Apache also comprises the automatic cannon, which is a chain gun that is powered by an electric motor. The electric motor rotates the chain that slides the bolt assembly back and forth to load, fire, extract and eject cartridges.

The chain gun is different from an ordinary machine gun, which uses the force of the cartridge explosion or flying bullet to move the bolt.

Apache Controls

The Apache has two cockpit sections. While the pilot sits in the back, the gunner sits in the front. The rear section is slightly raised so that the pilot can see clearly. Both sections of the cockpit include flight and firing controls in case one pilot needs to take over the full operation. The Apache is capable to be in an automatic hovering position for a short period of time.

Apache Sensors

The Apache has sophisticated sensor equipment. The Apache Longbow can detect surrounding ground forces, aircraft and buildings using a radar dome mounted to the mast. The pilot and the gunner both will have night vision sensors to operate at night.

Apache Armour Protection

The Apache is designed to keep out of range and evade enemy radar scanning. The helicopter is designed specially to fly low on the ground and evade heat-seeking missiles by reducing its infrared signature.

The Apache is also heavily armoured on all sides. The cockpit is protected with layers of bulletproof glass and reinforced armour. Boeing claims that every part of the helicopter can survive 12.7-mm rounds and vital engine and rotor components can withstand 23-mm fire.

The area surrounding the cockpit has been designed to deform during a collision, except for the cockpit cover. During a crash, the deformed areas will absorb a lot of the impact force, so that the collision isn't as hard on the crew.

The seats of the pilot and the gunner are also outfitted with heavy Kevlar armour, which can also absorb the force of impact.

Critical Force Multiplier Purchase

The IAF received the first Apache helicopter from Boeing in May 2019. By July 27, the first four of the 22 Apache combat helicopters were handed over to the IAF by Boeing. The first deliveries are ahead of schedule. The IAF is expected to operate all 22 Apache combat helicopters by 2020. 

India had signed a multi-billion dollar contract for 22 of these helicopters with the US and the American aircraft manufacturer Boeing Ltd in September 2015. (Text Courtesy Sangeeta Krishnan JJ)

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