AH-64A Apache Attack Helicopter
In service since 1986, the Apache AH-64A helicopter was primarily designed as a tank-killer. It was envisioned that fleets of Apache helicopters would be able to counter the Soviet Union's 4 to 1 numeric superiority in tanks on the plains of Europe. In the anti-armor role, the Apache can carry 16 laser-guided AGM-114 missiles. Hovering amongst the trees or behind terrain, the Apache can pop up and engage targets then retreat behind cover. In the close support role the Apache's rocket pods and 30mm cannon can bring devastating firepower to bear against a ride range of enemy units.
An Apache battalion is made up of 18 AH-64As and 13 OH-58D Kiowas. The Kiowas scout ahead and find targets for the Apaches. The smaller and more agile Kiowa is more likely to remain undetected. When it finds a target it can 'paint' it with its mast-mounted laser. The Apache can remain hidden behind terrain and still engage the target with its Hellfire laser-guided missiles.
AH-64A Apache Video
US DoD video | released to public domain
The Apache AH-64A has had a distinguished combat record. It was to prove its worth against large tank formations in 1991 during Desert Storm, the US-led action to repel Iraqi forces from Kuwait. The Apache helicopter's ability to fly and fight at night meant it owned the battlefield, often engaging targets from over 5km distance without being detected by the enemy. Such long range target acquisition is facilitated by the sophisticated on-board avionics. These include the Target Acquisition Designation Sight (TADS) and Pilot Night Vision System (PNVS).
The Apache also carries a suite of defensive countermeasures which include infra-red jammers and decoy flares.
AH-64A Apache Specifications
AH64-A Apache - note the TADS and PNVS clearly visible in the nose of the helicopter.
AH-64A Apache resources :
AH-64A APACHE PHOTOS :
(click thumbnails for fullsize images)
photo gallery : ah-64a apache
AH-64A APACHE LINKS :
Boeing Helicopters - info on the AH-64 Apache Helicopter