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Hughes Helicopters AH-64 Apache

A United States Army AH-64 Apache (Probably the Longbow variant.), providing air support for the Army soliders of Alpha Battery, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, as well as soldiers from the Iraqi army's 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Division, during a raid in Remagen, Iraq. (This D.o.D. photograph was by Petty Officer 3rd Class Shawn Hussong, United States Navy, February 24th, 2006.) (Released.).

The Hughes Helicopters AH-64 Apache, a successor to the Bell Helicopter Textron AH-1 Cobra , is the principal attack helicopter for the United States Army. It operates in any weather, day, or night, and has participated in almost every major United States Operation in the Middle East, since the first AH-64 was delivered to the United States Army in November, 1993.

Wikipedia.

Development...

After the cancellation of the Lockheed Attack Helicopter, AH-56 Cheyenne in favor of the United States Air Force, and Marine Corps. new developments, such as the McDonnel Douglas AV-8B Harrier II, and the Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, the United States Army sought a helicopter to fill in the anti-armor attack role that would fall under the Army command (After the Key West Agreement, which was established in 1948, the Army was forbidden to command fixed winged aircraft.). It's requirements would be that the new Attack Helicopter will have a better firepower, range, and performance compared to the old AH-1 Cobra, with the maneuverability to fly nap-of-the-earth (N.o.E.) missions, which means that it can fly at a very low altitude, thus lessening its detection by radar, and Surface-to-Air (S.A.M.s) missiles. In 1972, the United States Army issued a request for proposals for an Advance Attack Helicopter (A.A.H.).

Five manufacturers submitted proposals: Hughes, Lockheed, Bell, Boeing-Vertol (Co-operated with Grumman.), and Sikorsky. In 1973, the finalists were selected. (Selection was by the United States Department of Defense.). They were Bell's Model 409/YAH-63A, and Hughes Toolco Aircraft Division's (Later renamed to Hughes Helicopters, which was then bought by Lockheed.) Model 77/YAH-64A.

Design...

The AH-64 Apache has two General Electric T700 turboshaft Engines, with high-mounted exhausts that are on either side of the rotor shaft. Its main rotor, as well as the rear, have four blades, which are more damage tolerant than Bell's YAH-63A, part of the reason why Hughes won. In the crew compartment, the pilot seats at the rear, while the co-pilot at the front. Both the fuel tanks, and the compartment are armed to sustain 23 mm round hits. The stub-wing pylons are used to carry a variety of rockets, and missiles.

As the Apache is an anti-armor attack helicopter, it has to endure in front-line environments. That means that it should be an all-weather capable aircraft that can be flown anytime of the day, which it is. Accomplishing these objectives requires the Apache to have avionics, and electronics such as the Pilot Night Vision System (P.N.V.S..), the Target Acquisition, and Designation System (T.A.D.S..), Global Positioning System (G.P.S..), passive infrared countermeasures, and the Integrated Helmet, And Display Sight System (I.H.A.D.S.S..).

Specifications. Wikipedia.

General Characteristics...

Crew: 2: pilot, CPG (co-pilot/gunner.).
Length: 58.17 ft (17.73 m.) (with both rotors turning.).
Rotor diameter: 48 ft 0 in (14.63 m.).
Height: 12.7 ft (3.87 m.).
Disc area: 1,809.5 ft² (168.11 m².).
Empty weight: 11,387 lb (5,165 kg.).
Loaded weight: 18,000 lb (8,000 kg.).
Max takeoff weight: 21,000 lb (9,500 kg.).
Powerplant: 2× General Electric T700-GE-701 and later upgraded to T700-GE-701C & T700-GE-701D (1990-today.) turboshafts, -701: 1,690 shp, -701C: 1,890 shp -701D 2,000 shp (-701: 1,260 kW, -701C: 1,490 kW.) each.
Fuselage length: 49 ft 5 in (15.06 m.).
Rotor systems: 4 blade main rotor, 4 blade tail rotor in non-orthogonal alignment.

Performance...

Never exceed speed: 197 knots (227 mph, 365 km/h.).
Maximum speed: 158 knots (182 mph, 293 km/h.).
Cruise speed: 143 knots (165 mph, 265 km/h.).
Combat radius: 260 nm (300 mi, 480 km.).
Ferry range: 1,024 nm (1,180 mi, 1,900 km.).
Service ceiling: 21,000 ft (6,400 m.).
Rate of climb: 2,500 ft/min (12.7 m/s.).
Disc loading: 9.80 lb/ft² (47.90 kg/m².).
Power/mass: 0.18 hp/lb (310 W/kg.).

Armament...

Guns: 1× M230 30 mm (1.18 in.) cannon, 1,200 rounds.
Rockets: Hydra 70 FFAR rockets.
Missiles: combination of AGM-114 Hellfire, AIM-92 Stinger, AIM-9 Sidewinder.

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