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Netherlands to induct final Apaches into remanufacturing process

The Netherlands is upgrading its 28 AH-64D (pictured) helicopters to the latest AH-64E standard. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The last Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters to be remanufactured to the latest AH-64E Apache Guardian standard are to be shipped to the United States shortly.

The RNLAF said that the last two of 28 helicopters to be remanufactured performed a farewell flypast over the Netherlands on 16 January, ahead of shipment to Boeing's Mesa facility in Arizona “within a month”.

The USD1.191 billion remanufacturing 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 earlier it needed to be removed because of weight restrictions. It also includes the fitting of composite main rotor blades.

The Netherlands began shipping its AH-64D helicopters to Mesa for overhaul and remanufacture to the latest AH-64E standard in November 2020, with the first two remanufactured helicopters arriving back in the Netherlands in December 2023. A further two are scheduled to be delivered in the week beginning 22 January. Of the 28 helicopters being upgraded, 20 will be delivered back to the Netherlands, with eight remaining in the US to be used for training at Fort Cavazos (formerly Fort Hood).

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