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Apache Attack Helicopter (British Army Air Corps)

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Apache Attack Helicopter (British Army Air Corps)

Postby SKB » 03 May 2015, 12:33

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The AgustaWestland AH1 Apache is a licence-built version of the AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter for the British Army's Army Air Corps. The first eight helicopters were built by Boeing; the remaining 59 were assembled by Westland Helicopters (now part of AgustaWestland) at Yeovil, Somerset in England from Boeing-supplied kits. Changes from the AH-64D include Rolls-Royce Turbomeca engines, a new electronic defensive aids suite and a folding blade mechanism allowing the British version to operate from ships. The helicopter was initially designated WAH-64 by Westland Helicopters and was later designated Apache AH Mk 1 (often shortened to Apache AH1) by the Ministry of Defence.

The Apache was a valued form of close air support in the conflict in Afghanistan, being deployed to the region in 2006. The Apache has been an object of controversy over the fitting of some munitions, such as cluster bombs and thermobaric weapons. Naval trials and temporary deployments at sea have proven the aircraft as an able platform to operate from the decks of ships, which is a unique application of the Apache amongst its operators. British Apaches served in the NATO 2011 military intervention in Libya operating from Royal Navy ships.

Several changes were made to the standard Apache design used by the US and those exported to other countries. One major difference is the use of a pair of Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322 01/12 engines, replacing the original General Electric T700-GE-701C engines. The Rolls-Royce engine produces 1,565 kW (2,100 hp) vs. 1,410 kW (1,890 hp) for the GE T700C engine. Compared to many helicopters used by coalition forces in Afghanistan, the Apache required less modification to serve in the region due to special filters incorporated into the design. Another change is the folding blade mechanism to stow the helicopters in confined spaces; the rotor blades also have anti-ice protection to allow operations in Arctic environments.

There were changes made to the sensor and avionics outfitting the craft as well; connectivity with the BOWMAN secure communications system to interact with other British military units being a significant one. The Selex ES (formerly BAE Systems Avionics) Helicopter Integrated Defensive Aids System (HIDAS) was also fitted. The HIDAS system was retrofitted onto the aircraft in mid-2004 just prior to entering service, along with several redesigned composite bodywork components. An eye-safe training laser to allow the Apache to function as a target designator was also installed.

Instead of the American Hydra 70 rocket pods, the Westland Apache can carry up to 76 CRV7 rockets. The CRV-7 uses a modular warhead: "a high explosive, semi-armour piercing warhead for attacks on unarmoured targets and a kinetic energy penetrator, which contains no explosive, for attacks on armoured targets". There used to be a third type of warhead: the Multi-Purpose Sub Munition (MPSM), which was a controversial weapon as it has been classified as a cluster bomb; each rocket contained nine M73 submunitions. In May 2008, several senior officers, such as General David Ramsbotham spoke out against British plans to keep the weapon. In the same month, Britain, as one of the 111 participating nations, agreed to ban cluster bombs on humanitarian grounds. Britain destroyed the last of its CRV-7 MPSMs in July 2009.

Like the US AH-64D Apache Longbow, the Apache AH1 carries a fire-control radar (FCR) and Radar Frequency Interferometer (RFI), providing an integrated surveillance and attack system. The 'Longbow’ radar is the bulbous unit over the rotor hub assembly; radar placement above the rotors allows the Apache to hover behind cover scanning for targets, with only the radar unit exposed. Additionally, the Longbow radar can monitor traffic in the Apache's airspace. The radar can also be used for surveillance and terrain profiling. A modem is interfaced into the Longbow radar and other sensor systems to relay information to other aircraft, this allows other Apaches to fire on targets identified by only a single helicopter.

AgustaWestland have since made several upgrades to Britain's Apache fleet. In May 2005, a $212 million contract was awarded to equip all 67 Mk1 helicopters with the Apache Arrowhead sensor system upgrade, to be completed by 2010. In 2009, it was announced that AgustaWestland was also integrating new external fuel tanks with ballistic protection. Some of the internal fuel tanks can be removed, Apaches in Afghanistan may have these removed to allow for extra ammunition for the cannon to be fitted. It has been suggested that advanced rotor blades and additional controls to improve the agility of the aircraft may be fitted in a mid-life update of the fleet.

In March 2015, the BBC reported the MOD is interested in purchasing the newer Boeing Apache AH-64E to replace its existing Apache fleet, as American suppliers will end its support of the equipment carried in the Army's current generation of WAH-64 Apaches in 2017, which would add greatly to the costs of maintaining the existing fleet.

Army Air Corps AgustWestland AH-1 Apache

Crew: 2
Length: 17.7 m (58 ft 4 in with rotors turning)
Rotor diameter: 14.6 m (48 ft)
Height: 3.87 m (12 ft 8 in)
Disc area: 168.11 m² (1,809.5 ft²)
Empty weight: 5,165 kg (11,387 lb)
Loaded weight: 8,006 kg (17,650 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 9,525 kg (21,000 lb)
Powerplant: 2× Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca RTM322 turboshaft, 1,566 kW (2,100 hp) each
Never exceed speed: 365 km/h (197 knots, 227 mph)
Maximum speed:293 km/h (158 knots, 182 mph)
Cruise speed: 259 km/h (140 knots, 161 mph)
Range: 537 km (290 nmi,[116] 334 mi)
Ferry range: 1,700 km (974 nmi, 1,121 mi)
Service ceiling: 6,400 m (21,000 ft)
Rate of climb: 12.7 m/s (2,500 ft/min)
Guns: M230 Chain Gun, 1200 rounds
Missiles: Hellfire (and Stinger, Starstreak, Sidewinder/Sidearm proposed)
Rockets: CRV7 with Flechette (Tungsten dart) or High-Explosive Incendiary Semi-Armour Piercing (HEISAP) warheads. Until 2008 also MPSM with nine M-73 bomblets.


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Re: AH1 Apache Attack Helicopter (Army Air Corps)

Postby SKB » 03 May 2015, 14:21

A £1bn Army contract to replace its Apache attack helicopters has been delayed due to lobbying by the firm AgustaWestland, Whitehall insiders say.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/31769714

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Re: AH1 Apache Attack Helicopter (Army Air Corps)

Postby marktigger » 03 May 2015, 14:58

or is the lobbying being used to push the decision till after the election so unpleasant news is postponed?

like Apache won't be replaced or that they will be a straight purchase from beoing with the impact that will have on Agusta-Westland?

I'd like to see AH 64E(UK) with updated rolls royce engines like the WAH-64

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Re: AH1 Apache Attack Helicopter (Army Air Corps)

Postby Gabriele » 03 May 2015, 19:36

Rolls Royce sold out the RTM322, so it is no longer much of a british product, but a french one. It also isn't advantageous anymore compared to the new engines of the AH-64E, so i actually would expect it to go out.

If the army manages to fight back the lobbying, 50 Apache will be remanufactured at AH-64E standard by Boeing. New, zero hour airframe fitted with everything that can be moved across from the existing AH-1, and completed with whole new systems where applicable. That's what the US Army is doing with its Apaches. The Block III programme includes 60 or so wholly new build helicopters as replacement for losses and write offs over time, but the other 500 or so are all old helicopters, remanufactured. It is the most cost effective approach.
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Re: AH1 Apache Attack Helicopter (Army Air Corps)

Postby SKB » 03 May 2015, 19:39

Do the rotors fold on the 'E' model, like they do with the British version? I'd hope so, otherwise using them on the Queen Elizabeth class carriers might be very tricky.

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Re: AH1 Apache Attack Helicopter (Army Air Corps)

Postby Gabriele » 03 May 2015, 20:59

Folding rotors were incorporated on US Apache in the early 2000 to simplify loading into cargo aircraft and cut down reassembling time once arrived, so i think it definitely has manual folding rotor.

For shipboard use, though, there are several things which would be very helpful but are unlikely to be readily available unless some money is put into them: a stronger rotor brake, an I band trasponder, wet sealing, and other additions big and small. Apache AH1 should have been receiving, in recent times, modifications to enable the mission-fitting of emergency flotation equipment packs. These hopefully will move on to the AH-64E in good time. A modification to the cockpit escape system to enable safe escape in the event of fall into the water was being developed and adopted jointly with the US Army.
One hope is that the US Army might be persuaded to adopt some other changes as well, since they have been putting Apache on ships relatively frequently in recent times due to the new focus on the Pacific. Improved radar modes for littoral and over water work have been introduced, and we can hope that some degree of wet sailing; lashing points, and other changes might interest them enough that they contribute to the expense.

The extent of "naval" capability incorporated in the Apache CSP programme is, as of now, certainly one of the biggest question marks.
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Re: Apache Attack Helicopter (Army Air Corps)

Postby sea_eagle » 07 May 2015, 00:37

Another reduction in capacity with the Apache fleet reduced from 66 to just 50 aircraft which will be replaced/rebuilt.
http://www.janes.com/article/50080/uk-m ... afghan-ops

I don't see how we can just buy the US version off the shelf if we want a marinised version with the additional features mentioned by Gabrielle. Along with UK specific comms etc.

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Re: Apache Attack Helicopter (Army Air Corps)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 07 May 2015, 10:52

Now that we save some by reducing the numbers, and some more through remanufacture (not decided yet), here is a good way to use the extra dime:
http://breakingdefense.com/2015/05/grey ... -407336609

Rumours of Israel already doing it (with the older Apache versions) are rife, but have not seen any specifics (what drones, what add-ons on the Apache).

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Re: Apache Attack Helicopter (Army Air Corps)

Postby Tony Williams » 15 Jun 2015, 13:21

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articles-view/release/3/164482/boeing-slashes-price-to-win-uk-apache-contract.html

American aircraft maker Boeing, fighting to win a contract to supply 50 Apache attack helicopters to the Government, has slashed the £1billion bill in an attempt to squeeze out rival AgustaWestland.

The discount, thought to amount to hundreds of millions of pounds, is the latest move in an increasingly aggressive race to secure the lucrative Ministry of Defence deal.

Sources at the US aerospace giant said the reduction amounted to a ‘very significant discount’ even on the £20million price per helicopter which Boeing charged for the Apaches when they were first ordered 20 years ago.

However, the price of the earlier Apaches rose to £44million per helicopter after the Government opted to have new engines and other equipment fitted by the then wholly British maker Westland.

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Re: Apache Attack Helicopter (Army Air Corps)

Postby bobp » 15 Jun 2015, 21:20

Apparently the deal was agreed but Westland Helicopters put in some sort of challenge to the bid. No doubt Boeing are looking at maintenance agreement to follow sale.

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Re: Apache Attack Helicopter (Army Air Corps)

Postby mr.fred » 15 Jun 2015, 22:11

Arguably they could be looking at running AW out of business to cut down on the competition.

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Re: Apache Attack Helicopter (Army Air Corps)

Postby jonas » 16 Jun 2015, 11:09

mr.fred wrote:Arguably they could be looking at running AW out of business to cut down on the competition.


Well if we are going down the same path as last time, and end doubling the price, is it worth it. A lot of people are saying that we should buy more equipment OTS to save cash, wouldn't this be a start. Finmeccanica is a very large company, and AW does have many other projects ongoing, so I doubt this would force them out of business.

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Re: Apache Attack Helicopter (Army Air Corps)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 16 Jun 2015, 16:59

If you look at the numbers of AH that the Italians are tooling up in Turkey, yes, the UK deal is small fry.

But there are specialty areas where AW could be a world standard, not just the ASW Merlin, but a CSAR version... that is where the host gvmnts NOT buying hurts the prospects more broadly.

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Re: Apache Attack Helicopter (Army Air Corps)

Postby Tinman » 17 Jun 2015, 00:35

ArmChairCivvy wrote:If you look at the numbers of AH that the Italians are tooling up in Turkey, yes, the UK deal is small fry.

But there are specialty areas where AW could be a world standard, not just the ASW Merlin, but a CSAR version... that is where the host gvmnts NOT buying hurts the prospects more broadly.


The old RAF CASR question, funding funding funding, not deemed as needed as a home grown necessity, as the costs of standing up a dedicated Sqn, training into AAR, the fact that its been tasked a SF requirement. That and the fact that we routinely request assets from the USAF and USN.

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Re: Apache Attack Helicopter (Army Air Corps)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 17 Jun 2015, 06:12

Well, exactly.

We all know (from photos, if not officially advertised) what machines were parked on the deck of the Ocean (ready to go) when the Apaches were taking off for Libya missions.

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Re: Apache Attack Helicopter (Army Air Corps)

Postby Tinman » 18 Jun 2015, 15:08

ArmChairCivvy wrote:Well, exactly.

We all know (from photos, if not officially advertised) what machines were parked on the deck of the Ocean (ready to go) when the Apaches were taking off for Libya missions.


PM inbound.

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Re: AH1 Apache Attack Helicopter (Army Air Corps)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 19 Jun 2015, 07:49

SKB wrote:A £1bn Army contract to replace its Apache attack helicopters has been delayed due to lobbying by the firm AgustaWestland, Whitehall insiders say.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/31769714


Comes awfully close to the figure just quoted/ rumoured for defence budget cuts...

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Re: Apache Attack Helicopter (Army Air Corps)

Postby 1911 » 22 Jul 2015, 16:10

ArmChairCivvy wrote:Well, exactly.

We all know (from photos, if not officially advertised) what machines were parked on the deck of the Ocean (ready to go) when the Apaches were taking off for Libya missions.


I have seen the photograph in question. Do you happen to know if they are USAF HH-60Gs or some other USN or USMC variant?

Edited to say:

I think I have managed to answer my own question. A deployment of HH-60Gs from 56th Rescue Squadron USAF at Lakenheath. Embarked (officially) on the USS Ponce (LPD-15).

1. Hobbs, D. (2014) British Aircraft Carriers: Design, Development & Service Histories. Seaforth Publishing. p.342

2. "U.S. Air Force Gets Underway on USS Ponce." Navy News Service, 1 April 2011.http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ ... -nns09.htm
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Re: Apache Attack Helicopter (Army Air Corps)

Postby marktigger » 22 Jul 2015, 18:34

problem with armouring the merlin is the weight

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Re: Apache Attack Helicopter (Army Air Corps)

Postby marktigger » 24 Jul 2015, 13:11

is there anymore word on the future of the apache fleet or will that be announced in SDSR?

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Re: Apache Attack Helicopter (Army Air Corps)

Postby Gabriele » 24 Jul 2015, 14:59

marktigger wrote:is there anymore word on the future of the apache fleet or will that be announced in SDSR?


Main Gate in early 2016. Expected 50 Apache at Block III (AH-64E) standard. Army favorite method to get that: reconstruction of existing Apaches in brand new airframes, done by Boeing, as is being done in the hundreds for the US Army and for export customers.

Alternative is getting AW to do it, but that means more cost.

And i'm really, really hoping that the number is not dropped below 50 just to give money to AW.

What is not clear is how much "naval" features make it into Block III. The US Army has been working more off ships in recent times, out in the Pacific, and is working together with the UK on some basic features, but there are several more additions and mods which would be very desirable.
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Re: Apache Attack Helicopter (Army Air Corps)

Postby Dave » 25 Jul 2015, 22:57

ArmChairCivvy wrote:Well, exactly.

We all know (from photos, if not officially advertised) what machines were parked on the deck of the Ocean (ready to go) when the Apaches were taking off for Libya missions.



There is at least one official photo that makes reference to them.

Image
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-f ... a-campaign

Army Air Corps Apache and United States Air Force HH60 helicopters on board HMS Ocean, supporting Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR in the Mediterranean [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Guy Pool, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

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Re: Apache Attack Helicopter (Army Air Corps)

Postby Ron5 » 28 Jul 2015, 06:26

I'm confused. I thought the Boeing offer was for totally new build Apaches. Was I always wrong or did the script change somewhere along the line?

And if it is for rebuilding the UK Apaches, are they familiar enough with the British model to have made a reliable bid? Or is it a case of sending in your old frames and getting whatever is next off the line which might have started as a US aircraft?

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Re: Apache Attack Helicopter (Army Air Corps)

Postby Gabriele » 28 Jul 2015, 07:47

Ron5 wrote:I'm confused. I thought the Boeing offer was for totally new build Apaches. Was I always wrong or did the script change somewhere along the line?

And if it is for rebuilding the UK Apaches, are they familiar enough with the British model to have made a reliable bid? Or is it a case of sending in your old frames and getting whatever is next off the line which might have started as a US aircraft?



I think the general press never made a good job of explaining what is going on. While entirely new build is an option, remanufacturing the existing Apaches seem far more likely. The great majority of the Block III upgrade is exactly that: taking existing Apaches, strip them down, take what is still valid, and put the pieces inside whole new airframes, alongside the new parts. Only 56 of the 700+ AH-64E for the US Army are to be wholly new.

And i would think Boeing is more than capable to work with the AH1. What is not clear is how many of the british-specific parts will continue to be used. Not at all sure about keeping the current engines, for example. Maybe HIDAS would go on.
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Re: Apache Attack Helicopter (Army Air Corps)

Postby Ron5 » 01 Aug 2015, 04:44

Gabriele wrote:
Ron5 wrote:I'm confused. I thought the Boeing offer was for totally new build Apaches. Was I always wrong or did the script change somewhere along the line?

And if it is for rebuilding the UK Apaches, are they familiar enough with the British model to have made a reliable bid? Or is it a case of sending in your old frames and getting whatever is next off the line which might have started as a US aircraft?



I think the general press never made a good job of explaining what is going on. While entirely new build is an option, remanufacturing the existing Apaches seem far more likely. The great majority of the Block III upgrade is exactly that: taking existing Apaches, strip them down, take what is still valid, and put the pieces inside whole new airframes, alongside the new parts. Only 56 of the 700+ AH-64E for the US Army are to be wholly new.

And i would think Boeing is more than capable to work with the AH1. What is not clear is how many of the british-specific parts will continue to be used. Not at all sure about keeping the current engines, for example. Maybe HIDAS would go on.


Thanks again!


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