The Army will no longer buy future versions of the Apache helicopter, according to FlightGlobal. Instead, it will pour funding into developing the armed version of the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program, the mission to make a new helo that will fly in 2030.
The AH-64 Apache entered service in 1984 as the first purpose-built attack helicopter for the U.S. Army. The Apache pioneered advanced technologies including the TADS target acquisition system, thermal imaging night vision, helmet-steerable 30-millimeter chain gun, and the Hellfire laser-guided missile.
The Apache was designed as a tank-killer for the battlefields of Western Europe, capable of carrying up to sixteen Hellfire missiles. Just two Apaches could smash a battalion of 30 Soviet tanks, which would go a long way toward addressing NATO’s numerical inferiority.
In reality, its mission would prove to be elsewhere. The helicopter saw combat in the 1989 invasion of Panama and the 1991 Persian Gulf War. It fought with U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, with Israeli forces in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, and with British forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. Saudi Apaches are currently using the AH-64 to battle Houthi rebels in Yemen. The Apache is in service with 12 countries and on order with three more.
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