AH-64D Apache Longbow
Boeing [BA] builds the Apache helicopter.The Longbow joint venture of Lockheed Martin [LMT] and Northrop Grumman [NOC] produce the Longbow weapons and fire control package.
The Apache Longbow is the Armyís prime attack helicopter, armed with a 30mm cannon built by Alliant Techsystems [ATK] and up to 16 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles produced by Lockheed Martin. The Longbow radar allows for ìfire-and-forgetî usage of Hellfire missiles. The digital integration allows for improved detection and acquisition, and can scan, detect and classify more than 128 targets.
The earlier AH-64A Apache was used in Panama in 1989 and attained major public coverage during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. In the opening night of the air campaign, Apaches destroyed Iraqi air defense radar systems, and accounted for the destruction of 500 Iraqi tanks. Apaches would have participated in Operation Allied Force in 1999 over Kosovo had it not been for the disorderly deployment of Task Force Hawk, which resulted in two crashes. Apaches also took part in fighting against Al Qaeda forces during Operation Anaconda last year, where it performed in extreme mountain conditions. Five were damaged. In one case, an Apache flew back to its base with no oil in its engines, because the Apache can fly for a very limited window without oil.
Apache operators and customers include Israel, Kuwait, Singapore, Egypt, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Greece, Japan, United Arab Emirates and Britain. In the latter case, Britainís GKN is building portions of its WAH-64D under license.
Boeing is currently working under a $2.3 billion contract ñ the second multiyear arrangement ñ to convert 259 A-model versions to Longbow standard. Recently, Army aviation chief Maj. Gen. John Curran approved the Block III upgrade of the Apache Longbow. The Block III upgrade is based on work by the Army and Boeing conducted since the mid-1990s. The program would include improvements to the Longbow fire control radar, new engines and transmission, digital communications and systems, connectivity with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and electronic warfare self-protection.