Among all military vehicles, the AH-64 Apache helicopter is arguably the most well-known. Early in the 20th century, the first tanks were developed. Because they were no longer vulnerable to light weapons fire, troops could move across terrain with no resistance. The hunter is now the prey because of advancements in airpower, but technology waits for no man.
Nine Unknown Facts About The Apache Helicopter
Although ground-attack missions are nothing new, the helicopter gunship was the vehicle that best demonstrated the value of having firepower, mobility, and stealth all in one. Any armored division’s most dreaded platform is a rotary assault helicopter.
To the satisfaction of a defense contractor, a laser-equipped chopper zaps its first target – The Washington Post
Boeing’s AH-64 Apache, maybe the most well-known of them, established the benchmark for gunship design that is still cutting edge today. We are used to seeing airplanes in flying displays that highlight their distinctive features, but the following information might surprise even the most ardent aviation enthusiast.
Apache attack helicopters will allow the Indian Army to launch risky attacks, according to The Economic Times.
Amazingly, the original AH-64 prototype goes back to 1975, when the US defense department sought to replace its ailing AH-1 Cobras. Hughes Helicopters received the final design contract for what would eventually become the AH-64 Apache.
The pre-production version of the AH-64 used a lower tail plain design and redesigned nose section, making the early prototype easily distinguishable from the final production variant. The AH-64 initially entered operational service in 1986 after a protracted 11-year development process.
You could be excused for believing that gunships are small, maneuverable machines, but a closer examination at the powerful AH-64 Apache paints a very different picture; the recognizable gunship is much larger than most people realize.
The Apache fits into the same size category as the typical school bus at 58 feet long, 48 feet wide, and over 13 feet tall. For rotary-powered aircraft weighing up to 21,000 pounds, a cruise speed of 182 mph and a “never to be exceeded” top speed of 227 mph are both highly noteworthy. The aircraft is equipped with two Rolls-Royce RTM322 turbojets that have a combined output of 4540 hp. Remember how large they actually are the next time you see one of these amazing machines smoothly circling above you.
Function Prior to Form
Helicopters move at a significantly slower speed than their fixed-wing counterparts, eliminating the need for extremely streamlined fuselages. While this lower speed makes helicopters more nimble, it also has certain unfavorable consequences.
Its twin engines produce enormous amounts of heat that might potentially put the aircraft at greater risk from enemy IR-guided missiles. Operating at lower altitudes and airspeeds does increase the likelihood of hostile encounters. This risk is reduced by positioning the engines as high and far back as possible, with rotor downwash aiding in heat dissipation.
The AH-64 Apache has the well-known tandem seating arrangement since it is a very full piece of equipment that requires a crew of two. Each gunship’s cockpit is packed with cutting-edge equipment for the aircraft’s flight, navigation, offensive, and defensive capabilities. To become a pilot, you must pass a basic flight training program that lasts nine weeks.
The AH-64 is outfitted with dual control systems that enable the front occupant to take control of the aircraft in an emergency. Under normal operating conditions, the front seat is reserved for the s officer while the pilot occupies the rear cockpit.
The ability to operate from more compact forward bases in tight quarters is by far the biggest advantage Apache pilots have over traditional fixed-wing aircraft. The AH-64’s rotor diameter of 48 feet is the minimum area it needs to function, hence during combat sorties, pilots frequently “hide” below the treetop level.
With a 20,000-foot service ceiling and 227 mph level flying speeds, this amazing aircraft isn’t limited to low-level missions. The Apache is agile and capable of moves between +3.5g and -0.5g, so pilots may trust on it if they find themselves in a challenging scenario.
Guns Have The Most Firepower.
When missiles and rockets are easily available, mounting a large cannon under the Apache’s nose may seem like a redundant device, but close-range fire support is essential for battlefield suppression. The M230 chain gun, developed by Hughes Helicopters in the early 1970s, fires 30mm explosive-tipped rounds capable of breaching light armor vehicles (up to 25mm) at distances of 500 meters. Each round is engineered to shatter on contact for maximum damage.
The clever part now: a chin-mounted M230 chain gun is pointed in the same direction as the commanding officer’s gaze via a combination of sensors located in the cockpit and helmet design. This method boosts engagement speed and accuracy while also freeing up the police officer’s hands for other takes.
Survival of Aircraft
Hughes Helicopters built the AH-64 to be sturdy and tough enough to withstand enemy fire that would typically cause aircraft loss, despite its size and appearance. Blast shields and composite boron-kevlar armor panels are used to protect critical aircraft systems while also separating the crew.
The AH-64 was built to endure forced landings because the worst-case situation can never be completely eliminated. This is not a brazen boast of invulnerability; rather, it is an effort to account for all possibilities.
Missiles and rockets are the main sources of firepower.
The Apache’s entire offensive arsenal, with the exception of the chin-mounted chain cannon, is carried on two wing-mounted pylons that may be equipped with a variety of interchangeable weapons according on the mission’s demands. Air-to-air missile capabilities has recently been added to the Apache, albeit the low operating speeds suggest this is only for defensive use.
With its outstanding on-target hovering capability and adaptable payload, the Apache is best suited to ground support duties and is a powerful battlefield delivery vehicle. Most usually seen with two rocket pods and two Hellfire missile racks.
Future, Present, and the Past
The Apache will undoubtedly be a regular appearance among airshow goers, wowing crowds with aerobatic demonstration routines when overall production reaches 2400 aircraft by the end of 2020, supplying 18 foreign users.
Since the prototype’s first flight almost 45 years ago, the design has stood the test of time, changing and adapting to suit new operating requirements. New foreign operators are constantly putting orders for new aircraft to this day. However, the situation may be more dire closer to home because of plans to drastically reduce the number of Apache helicopters in the US military by 2027.