Are the Indian Apaches the most dangerous helicopter in the world?
Apache is considered as one of the most successful and dangerous attack helicopter ever made. With its advanced avionics and heavy operational capability, one can easily conclude that it is the toughest thing our enemies ever imagined.
Apache is definitely a lethal and trustworthy machine with war-time experience. It has various variants with “E” being the most latest and advanced. India opted for the customized version of the variant. It comes with state-of-the-art equipments like laser, infrared, target acquisition & designation sight with night vision sensor to locate, track, and attack targets, an improved Helmet Mounted Display with upgraded software, digital connectivity. It has more powerful engines, capability to control Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) in the Manned and Unmanned Teaming (MUMT) mode of operation, improved composite rotor blades providing higher cruise speed, enhanced climb rate (800-990 ft/min) and higher payload capacity than its predecessor “D”.
The AH-64E comes with a 30-mm M230 cannon with 1 200 rounds of ammunition. It has 4 hardpoint on stub wings and can carry various missiles. Armament is being tailored, depeinding on mission requirements. The AH-64E can carry up to 16 AGM-114R Hellfire 2 anti-tank guided missiles, up to two AIM-9 Sidewinder, four AIM-92 Stinger, or four Mistral air-to-air missiles. It can also carry two AGM-122 Sidearm anti-radiation missiles. The gunship is often equipped with 19-shot Hydra 70 unoperated rocket pods. It can carry up to 4 of these pods.
Fitted with air-to-air missiles, an Apache helicopter has the capability to take on enemy choppers and UAV, thereby providing support to ground troops. This variant can also operate over land, sea an That’s one of the reasons it has been used extensively in the conflict zones of Afghanistan, and Iraq. Between 1984 and 1997, Boeing produced 937 AH-64As for the US Army, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Capable of detecting 256 moving targets and engaging them, the twin-engine Apache is operated by two pilots. The AH-64E Apache has the ability to control unmanned aerial vehicles.
A frequent query that is being asked by Indians, Where are the radars over the rotor?
Currently, every Indian Apache won’t be equipped with Fire Control Radars.Only 12 of them will have it but IAF is still in talks with Northrop Grumman to procure AN/APG 78 “Longbow” FCR for more choppers. DRDO is also developing indigenous Fire Control Radar for LCH and Rudra Attack Choppers. I think the Apaches left without radars may feature the indigenous FCRs
The Longbow FCR primary combat targeting modes include Ground Target Mode (GTM), Air Targeting Mode (ATM), and a new Maritime Targeting Mode (MTM) for the AH-64E. These modes provide rapid detection to engagement timelines. The FCR performs wide area search, precise detection, location and classification of up to 256 simultaneous moving and stationary targets. From these, the system then prioritizes the top 16 targets for immediate evaluation and, if desired, engagement by the aircrew. AN/APG-78 enables the potent Apache attack helicopter to prosecute targets day or night, in adverse weather and obscured conditions.
Additional modes include Terrain Profile Mode, which significantly aids aircrew situational awareness to avoid terrain and large obstacles under degraded environments, including weather and battlefield conditions; and Target Location Cueing to the Apache’s Modernized Target Acquisition Designation System (MTADS) for positive target identification.
India is already lagging behind China and Pakistan in terms of fleet of Attack Helicopters. Pakistan operates a huge amount of AH 1 “Cobra” and also started procuring Mil Mi 35 “Hind”. Relief for India is that US State Department has put a hold on delivery of AH 1Z “Viper” and deal of T129 Atak Helicopters from Turkey is also stuck due to US interference where they denied to supply engines for manufacturing Pakistani helicopters.
China on the other hand, operates its lethal Attack helicopter: Z10.
So, Apaches will serve as a game changer for India and provide a potent frontline operations capability. It will give a technological advantage in the region and will give superior advantage to Indian Helicopter fleet.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR INDIA:
The Apache will be the first pure attack helicopter in India’s possession. While the Russian origin Mi 35 has been operated for years and is now on the verge of retirement, it was an assault chopper that was designed to carry troops into heavily defended territories. The two pilot Apache is a dedicated attack chopper that experts believe will be a ‘game changer’ in the tactical battle scenario.