The Apache Era

August 2003 to December 2011

 
  • A pair of Apaches training in the UK

    A pair of Apaches training in the UK

  • C24 Apache is equipped with a very sophisticated and effective suite of defensive aids

    Apache is equipped with a very sophisticated and effective suite of defensive aids

  • C25 Refuelling an Apache during conversion to role CTR training at Woodbridge Suffolk

    Refuelling an Apache during conversion to role training at Woodbridge, Suffolk

  • C26 Apaches first went to sea in 2005 on board the helicopter carrier HMS Ocean

    Apaches first went to sea in 2005 on board the helicopter carrier HMS Ocean

  • C27 Brown out was a challenge faced by all Apache crews landing in dusty desert conditions

    'Brown out' was a challenge faced by all Apache crews landing in dusty desert conditions

  • C28 An Apache lands at Gereshk in  Afghanistan

    An Apache lands at Gereshk, Afghanistan

  • C29 Apache hovering alongside helicopter carrier HMS Ocean painting by Derek Blois

    An Apache hovering alongside the helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, from a painting by Derek Blois

  • C30 In 2011 Apaches were in action in maritime strike role over Libya

    In 2011 Apaches were in action in the maritime strike role over Libya

 
On 25 March 1996 the contract was signed for the production and delivery of sixty-seven of the WAH64, which would be designated as the Apache AH1 (Attack Helicopter) by the Ministry of Defence.

The contract also included simulators at Middle Wallop, Dishforth and Wattisham. The initial eight production Apaches were constructed in the USA, with the first one, ZJ166, flying on 25 September 1998.

The first aircraft to be assembled by Westland at Yeovil was ZJ172, which made its first flight on 18 July 2000.

The British Army Apache is powered by twin 1850 shp Rolls-Royce RRTM-322 engines, which give it a maximum speed of 182 mph and a range of nearly 300 miles, depending upon the weight of weapons, ammunition and fuel carried.

It can be armed with a combination of AGM114 Hellfire missiles and CRV7 rocket pods, carried on stub-wing pylons and the formidable Hughes 30mm M230 chain gun. It also has an advanced Longbow Fire Control Radar and Electronic Warfare (EW) capability called the Helicopter Integrated Defensive Aids System (HIDAS).

It also boasts a suite of highly sophisticated day and night sensors, the Target Acquisition and Designation Sight (TADS) System. As a whole the Apache is without doubt the most capable, complicated and demanding weapons system that the AAC and REME have been called upon to operate. It was certainly a huge leap forward from the TOW armed Lynx.