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First remanufactured Apache helos arrive in Netherlands

The first of 28 Royal Netherlands Air Force AH-64D Apaches to be converted to the latest AH-64E standard seen at its rollout in March 2022. (Netherlands Ministry of Defence)

The first Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters to be remanufactured to the latest AH-64E Apache Guardian standard have arrived back in the Netherlands.

The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) said on 7 December that the first two of 20 helicopters to be operated in the Netherlands (a further eight will be sent to Fort Cavazos – formerly Fort Hood – in Texas for training) were transported via a US Air Force Boeing C-17A Globemaster III airlifter to Woensdrecht Air Base.

These and follow-on helicopters will be assembled and tested at Woensdrecht, before being flown to their future operating station of Gilze-Rijen Air Base.

The Netherlands began shipping its AH-64D helicopters to Boeing's Apache production facility at Mesa, Arizona, for overhaul and remanufacture to the latest AH-64E standard in November 2020.

The USD1.191 billion project includes 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. The introduction of the new engines means that the mast-mounted sight can now be carried during ‘hot and high' operations, when previously it needed to be removed because of weight restrictions.

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