Monday, June 4, 2012

3Rd Generation Apaches

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) will have to consider acquiring a new variant of the Apache assault helicopter, in the wake of the planned closure of Boeing's upgrade line. If a decision is made to acquire additional helicopters, then the variant that could be chosen is the third version of the Apache Longbow.

The AH-64D Longbow is the latest variant of the helicopter. It possesses a stronger engine, improved aerodynamics, improved network communication capabilities, and a high level of maneuverability compared to previous versions. Three of the IAF's additional AH-64A Apache helicopters are being upgraded to the D variant in the United States, where they have recently begun test-flights.

The IAF presently operates eighteen AH-64D helicopters, and had considered acquiring additional new Longbow helicopters before eventually deciding to upgrade its existing helicopters. The three A-variant helicopters are presently being upgraded in Boeings facilities in the US, and are expected to return to Israel at the end of 2012 and at the start of 2013.

All the signs are pointing towards Boeing not committing to additional upgrades, as there is no demand for such upgrades from other countries. The IAF's AH-64D helicopters are equipped with several Israeli-produced weapon systems that are not present on the original helicopters.

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