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Apache Of The Future Takes Off
by James Dunnigan
July 27, 2008

Discussion Board on this DLS topic

The prototype of the AH 64 Block III Apache helicopter gunship took its first flight. The army will be upgrading all of its 634 AH-64s to the new Block III standard, a process that won't be completed until 2020. The first Block IIIs won't enter service for another three years.

Block III has a more powerful and fuel efficient engine, as well as much improved electronics. Block III will also have Internet like capabilities with other aircraft and ground troops. Block III will be able to control several UAVs, and launch missiles at targets spotted by its UAVs. The Block III radar will have longer range and onboard computers will be much more powerful. The electronics will be easier to upgrade and maintain.

The 7.5 ton AH-64D carries a pilot and a weapons officer, as well as up to 16 Hellfire missiles (plus the 30mm automatic cannon). Sorties average three hours. The AH-64 can operate at night and has a top speed of 260 kilometers an hour.

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