Genuine WAH-64D replacement?

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Having just read this article posted by Tango III on the news thread:

http://www.janes.com/article/32844/british-army-wants-ah-64e-apache-before-end-of-decade

I wondered, are the British MOD really looking at other helicopter types to replace their Apaches?

The Army apparently don't want that, so what would the motivation be to look at other types?

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There is an old saying "When seconds count, air support is only minutes away".

I hope the British Army migrates away from the current situation where there are a few uber-expensive assets available for fire support/recce to a more persistent localized fire support/recce capability.

The later could mean networked UAVs employed at the company, platoon or section level. Technology exists today where small hand launched UAVs can stay airborne 24 hours or more, keeping a watchful eye in the immediate surrounds of the section or platoon.

Larger UAVs employed by the company or battalion would provide persistent recce deeper in enemy territory.

Precision artillery using GPS/inertial aided munitions provides immediate fire support without waiting minutes, hours, (or lifetimes) for the helos or fixed wing CAS to arrive.

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Perhaps. The issue for the Army with the Apache is part of the wider problem of what it plans to do with itself post Afghanistan.

They enjoyed having a Prince flying their Apaches, but the system has been left behind by the US and the Army has actually been pretty good at using technology in Afghanistan. Whether it can face losing manned offensive aviation assets is a massive question that will not play at all well with the press or the public.

The MOD evaluated all the possible alternative attack helicopters in the mid 90s and little has changed, so I can't see them going for a Tiger or similar. What I would have thought likely is reduced numbers of WAH-64E and increasing numbers of armed UAVs acting together.

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Lets also remember that the army will also have Wildcat starting to come on line from latter this year plus British Apaches can operate from ships due to their folding rotor heads from a visit to Wattisham last year the army have already highlighted air-frames to stand down and mothball

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I don't think the Army Air Corp will be retiring their Apaches anytime soon considering that the US Army have just upgraded their's to Guardian standard, so a full replacement would not appear until the middle of next decade.

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Well I agree that there is no sense in it, but several articles I have read clearly state that one option open to the MOD is to replace the type entirely, due in part to the fact that the US Army's shift to the E (combined with its funding problems) could cause the UK to have to wait longer than it would like for their own Guardians....

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Well I agree that there is no sense in it, but several articles I have read clearly state that one option open to the MOD is to replace the type entirely, due in part to the fact that the US Army's shift to the E (combined with its funding problems) could cause the UK to have to wait longer than it would like for their own Guardians....

At Wattishan there was no talk of the type going all together just dropping a Sqn we have to remember that the WAH-64D differs alot from the US model in that it has more powerful engines folding rotor head different comms set and defensive aids suite some of the US upgrade is more powerful engines and new blades

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I was confused on reading this the first time, and comments above seem to show I was right to be confused.

Given the WAH64's have different Engines and mechanical bits, defensive kit and don't mind getting a bit wet.

Is it really more a case of the LongBow system development that the UK wants or needs, after all I'm sure I assume if asked RR could squeeze more power and fuel efficiency out of the RTM332s, with upgrades elsewhere without relying on Boeing.

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At Wattishan there was no talk of the type going all together just dropping a Sqn we have to remember that the WAH-64D differs alot from the US model in that it has more powerful engines folding rotor head different comms set and defensive aids suite some of the US upgrade is more powerful engines and new blades

They all have the same rotor head. The blades are un-pined to fold back on all models.

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Now they do.

Here is an interesting commentary, in which it is stated that the US Army since 2002 has retrofitted its Apaches with the folding-rotor head developed for the WAH-64D: http://ukarmedforcescommentary.blogspot.com/2011/06/apache-ah1.html

The UK’s Apaches, WAH64D Apache AH Mk1 or simply AH1, did thus receive some very substantial changes from their American counterpart. One major difference for the WAH-64 is the folding blade mechanism to stow the helicopters in confined spaces and for operations at sea; the rotor blades also have anti-ice protection to allow operations in arctic environments. Interestingly, the US Army looked at this idea with interest: their focus was less on Ship-capability, and more on ease and rapidity of air transportation of Apache into theatre, but the end result has been the same, since their November 2002 requirement was met with folding blades. The folding blades allows the main rotor to be folded along the aircraft's length without being removed. The solution also provides for storage of the Apache Longbow's radar dome on the aircraft aft of the rotor hub for transport.

A single C-5 aircraft can now carry six Apaches, their flight crews, reassembly technicians and their tools. In the past, a second aircraft was needed to haul in special reassembly equipment, and additional personnel, and only 5 Apaches were carried. The blades had to be removed and stored along with the radar apart from the aircraft, taking up space in the cargo airplane and requiring more time to reassemble at the Apaches' destination. Folding blades remove the need for a test flight, necessary after a disassembly/reassemply op, and significantly reduces the logistics load required to deploy.

A C17 can carry 3 Apaches, while without folding blades that would be 2.

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I did read somewhere that Boeing feel the best solution on a cost basis if the UK want to retain the Apache is to buy new AH-64E airframes off the Boeing line and cannibalise components off the WAH-64D fleet to go in them.

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for the UK to buy new AH-64E's doenst make any sence, the current WAH-64D's are only roughly 10 to 12 years old.
sure the helicopters that have flown in Afghanistan has accumulated a large number of flying hours, but that doenst make them old.

my suggestion would be to look at the fleet first, and upgrade the youngest airframes to an AH.2 standard (AH-64E), and replace the oldest ones with the most flying hours with newbuilt machines.

what is with the UK wanting to retain old equipment, but retiring all they're newest toys (AH-64D, Sentinel,....)
to me, even looking at the RC-135 buy doenst make sence, why replace the nimrod R.1 with a machine thats just as old (or even older).
would have been cheaper or more future-certian to buy a 737-based derivative. but thats another topic....

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So we are agreed that it's highly unlikely that the UK will replace the Apache with another type, and most likely that it will upgrade (already planned) existing aircraft with a view to moving towards some sort of AH-64E based fleet.

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I did read somewhere that Boeing feel the best solution on a cost basis if the UK want to retain the Apache is to buy new AH-64E airframes off the Boeing line and cannibalise components off the WAH-64D fleet to go in them.

It's the best solution in terms of work for Boeing. :applause:

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to my limited understanding of helicopters it is not the air-frame that is the problem most of the time it is the engines- gearboxes - rotors & heads and avionics that need upgrades as in the Puma - Merlin & Chinook fleets the US itself are upgrading 600+ D's to E's + 60 odd new ones

what is the different's from D to E on the air-frame why can't the WAH-64D be striped out and refitted they already have engines that are as powerful as the E and different avionics

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This is What I was getting at in post 8.
What changes are actually required to a WAH 64D to make a Boeing AH64E, and is it really worth the UK buying into these changes wholesale, or cherry pick the best parts and allow AW and RR to upgrade what is necessary

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This is What I was getting at in post 8.
What changes are actually required to a WAH 64D to make a Boeing AH64E, and is it really worth the UK buying into these changes wholesale, or cherry pick the best parts and allow AW and RR to upgrade what is necessary

The engines are powerful enough and one of the thing with the engine is it is the same one used in the Merlin fleet so if our Apache's go to sea one engine two aircraft types less parts carried

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So some of the work the US has done is to catch up with the UK specification then.....

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So some of the work the US has done is to catch up with the UK specification then.....

as far as the power of the engines and the gearbox yes RR engine 2100 hp GE T700C engine in the US D's 1890 hp the E's will have somewhere between 2000 & 2100 Hp

the British ones have the BOWMAN secure communications system to interact with other British military units and the Helicopter Integrated Defensive Aids System (HIDAS) also fitted

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what is with the UK wanting to retain old equipment, but retiring all they're newest toys (AH-64D, Sentinel,....)
to me, even looking at the RC-135 buy doenst make sence, why replace the nimrod R.1 with a machine thats just as old (or even older).
would have been cheaper or more future-certian to buy a 737-based derivative. but thats another topic....

Ah, yes... you claim that buying a P-8 Poseidon ASW aircraft, stripping out most of its mission systems and installing & integrating (getting to work in the different airframe) the old Nimrod R.1 mission system, and re-certifying the 3 airframes for airworthiness would have been cheaper than just buying 3 KC-135s with fully-known & fully-documented service & maintenance records and newly-refurbishing them into RC-135W SIGINT aircraft with a USAF-standard mission system installation identical to that in over a dozen USAF RC-135Ws?

Apparently you missed that the P-8 and the EC-135 have completely different mission and mission systems (radars, electronic receivers/processors, etc).

ASW = anti-submarine warfare
SIGINT = signals intelligence

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Bager he never said P-8! He said use the 737 as a base. Although A330 would have made more sense!!!