- Aircraft and helicopters
Apache AH-64D Longbow attack helicopter
The highly manoeuvrable Apache AH-64D Longbow attack helicopter can be deoployed for a wide range of missions. It has advanced observation and navigation systems, making it extremely well suited for reconnaissance missions.
The various on-board weapon systems provide protection to ground troops or transport helicopters. This helicopter can also be deployed offensively against armoured vehicles, tanks or targets such as command positions and radar installations, artillery positions and guided-weapons launch sites. The Apache can carry out those missions during the day and night and in poor weather.
Number 29 helicopters
Length 15.47 m
Width 5.79 m
Height 3.92 m
Main rotor 4 blades, diameter 14.63 m, 292 rpm (revolutions per minute)
Tail rotor 4 blades, diameter 2.79 m, 1,417 rpm
Engines 2 x General Electric T700-GE-70IC
Power continuous 1,685 hp per engine; maximum 1,765 hp (with 1 engine)
Weight empty: 5,662 kg; maximum tactical weight 9,190 kg; maximum weight 10,433 kg
Speed cruise speed 222 km/h; maximum 366 km/h |
Flight range 460-485 km or approx. 2.5 hours, depending on the mission; additional 330 km per extra fuel tank (maximum 4 extra tanks, but then it will not be carrying any weapon systems) or additional 165 km met Robinson internal tank
Registration numbers Q-01 to Q-19 and Q-21 to Q-30 (the Q-20 was lost in an accident)
Manufacturer Boeing Defense & Space Group Colour olive green
Armament - Hellfire antitank missiles (maximum 16);
- 2.75 inch missiles (maximum 76);
- 30 mm gun (maximum 1,200 rounds).
Sensors infrared camera for day and night use, videocamera for day use, laser targeting
Targeting system helmet, laser
Self-protection Laser-warning receiver: provides warning when being 'painted' by a laser; radar jammer: blocks radar signals (to prevent detection); Apache Modular Aircraft Survivability Equipment (AMASE): detects SAM guided missiles and responds by firing flares (tracer rounds) to mislead the heat-seeking missile.
In use with Royal Netherlands Air Force
On 24 May 1995, the Netherlands signed a contract for 30 Apache AH-64D Longbow attack helicopters for the Royal Netherlands Air Force. To fill the gap until the helicopters would be delivered, an agreement was signed with the U.S. government for the lease of 12 Apache AH-64A helicopters from the U.S. Army. At the end of 1996, the 12 leased AH-64A helicopters were flown to the Netherlands from Germany. They went into service with the Royal Netherlands Air Force in February 1997.
The delivery of the AH-64D ('Delta') helicopters began in May 1998. As delivery of the Delta-version helicopters began, 6 of the 12 leased Alpha-version helicopters were returned to the U.S. Army in September 2000. The last 6 of the leased helicopters were returned to the U.S. Army in February 2001. The thirtieth - and last - of the Apache AH-64D Longbows were delivered to the Netherlands in May 2002. It is easy to tell the AH-64A and AH-64D apart by the shape of the bulge in the foremost part of the airframe under the cockpit. The bulge holds additional electronics and the supporting air-conditioning.
The missions that the Apache can carry out are many and varied, ranging from engaging armoured targets to providing air-based protection of a geographical area. During operations at the low end of the spectrum of force, the Apache can be used as a reconnaissance helicopter for locating roadblocks, bunkers, and other noteworthy sites. They can also be used to investigate areas that have been abandoned or that are difficult to reach by road or ground vehicle.
In order to carry out its mission array, the helicopter has an extensive package of sensors, including a videocamera with 127x zoom capability, an infrared camera for locating targets and a laser for determining distance and for directing the Hellfire missiles.
The Apache also has a special infrared camera that the pilots use to fly at night and to reconnoitre the immediate vicinity. Those sensors make the Apache ideal for keeping an area under surveillance or to provide security undetected.
The helicopter can be armed with Hellfire missiles, Hydra 70 2.75-inch missiles and M-230 Chain Gun 30 mm rounds. The missiles are carried and fired from external rocket pods. The 30 mm rounds are fired from the chain gun mounted on the underside of the front of the helicopter. The barrel of the gun can be manipulated by the movements of the pilot's helmet; the barrel points in the direction in which the pilot looks. It can also be controlled by means of several sensors.
The helicopter has the most modern self-protection suite, including a radar and laser detector, an infrared jammer and 30 chaff/flare rounds to mislead radar and infrared-guided missiles. The combination of sensors and weapons makes it possible to deploy the Apache very flexibly. The Apache's mission can be changed in a second from reconnaissance to protection to disabling objects or targets. All of those missions can be carried out in poor weather with low cloud cover.
In 1998 and 1999, Apaches took part in SFOR. In 2001, Apaches were stationed in Djibouti, to provide air support if necessary to Dutch military personnel of the UNMEE peacekeeping force in Ethiopia/Eritrea.
Since April 2004, the Apaches have been deployed in Afghanistan almost continuously. At first, six Apaches were stationed at Kabul airport. Five of those moved via Kandahar Airfield, from where they operated for several months, to Kamp Holland in Tarin Kowt in October of that same year.
On 11 November 2010, the Apaches ended their operational deployment in Afghanistan after six years. Since 2006, they had carried out more than 1200 flights in support of the ground troops in Afghanistan, clocking up more than 7,000 flying hours.
The Apaches are assigned to 301 Squadron of the Royal Netherlands Air Force at Gilze-Rijen Air Base.