Warplanes: Israel Gets Longbow Religion

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March 4, 2009: The Israeli Air Force has got religion with regard to the helicopter gunship. This is especially the case with the all-weather AH-64D "Longbow" version. Israel has bought or upgraded 18 of its 50 AH-64s to the Longbow standard. Thus the AH-64D can be used at night and in bad weather, and its radar enables it to better spot things on the ground and far away (about ten kilometers). Up to sixteen Hellfire missiles (plus its 30mm cannon) can be carried, and these weapons are particularly useful for urban warfare, where you want to minimize civilian casualties.

During the recent 22 day war with Hamas in Gaza, the Israelis used the AH-64s, particularly the Longbow models, extensively. Based on past experience, they developed tactics that integrated the AH-64s closely with the ground units. The Israelis examined how the U.S. has been using AH-64s in Iraq and Afghanistan, and picked up some tips there as well. Now the Israelis want more AH-64s, and are getting four more AH-64Ds, as well as upgrading more of the older models to Longbow status.

 


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