Air Platforms

US approves Apache upgrade for Netherlands

20 February 2018
The Netherlands is looking to upgrade its 28 AH-64D Block 2 Apaches to the latest AH-64E standard, under a USD1.191 billion programme that has been approved by the US government. Source: IHS Markit/Patrick Allen

The United States has approved the remanufacture of Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters operated by the Netherlands to AH-64E Apache Guardian standard.

According to a US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notification posted on 20 February, the State Department has approved the upgrade of 28 AH-64D Block 2 helicopters to the AH-64E standard, to include engines, targeting, and other systems.

The estimated cost of the project, which must first be approved by Congress, is USD1.191 billion.

In the context of this Dutch Apache effort, remanufacturing will mean cross-decking those already paid for and expensive items, such as the AN/ASQ-170 Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation Sights (MTADS)/AN/AAR-11 Modernized Pilot Night Vision Sensors (PNVS), that are common to the AH-64D Block 2 and AH-64E standard over from the current airframes onto newly built airframes, while at the same time replacing those items that are not common to the two standards, such as the latest T700-GE-701D engines.

If finalised, this latest remanufacture effort would follow an earlier AH-64D Block 1 to Block 2 upgrade that was begun in 2009. This saw the fitting of advanced avionics including a moving digital map, and upgraded communications to improve situational awareness. It also saw the aircraft equipped with Video Unmanned aircraft system Intelligence Teaming (VUIT)-2, which enabled crews to view streaming imagery and data from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The AH-64E improves on the AH-64D Block 2 in terms of the latest avionics and more powerful engines. The introduction of the new engines means that the mast-mounted sight can now be carried during ‘hot and high’ operations, when previously it had needed to be removed due to weight restrictions.

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