Warplanes: The Dutch Upgrade Their AH-64s


September 1, 2009:  The Netherlands will upgrade its 29 AH-64D Apache attack helicopters to Block 1 to Block 2 configuration in a deal worth an estimated $181 million. Coming with it are personnel training, repair /spare parts, tools, test equipment and necessary technical publications and engineering change proposals. Unlike the American Apache, the Dutch AH-64D lacks the millimeter-wave Longbow mast mounted radar. However, upgrading to the Block 2 specification will essentially make it comparable to the American version in every other category.

Among these updates will be the Arrowhead M-TADS/PVNS ( Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor)., which replaces the previous sensor suite. First produced in 2005, it allows a refit in the field for current Apaches. Other improvements are improved crew protection, color cockpit displays and numerous features enabling easier maintenance and improved reliability. This commonality with American and British Apaches make for easier information sharing in places like Afghanistan, where, the Americans tend to operate theirs with the Longbow radar removed while the British continue utilizing it.

The AH-64 remains the most formidable, effective and longest serving attack helicopter flying today. -- Mike Perry



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