Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow

July 14th, 2012

The Museum of Flight in Seattle recently hosted the American Heroes Air Show that is dedicated to showcasing the use of helicopters in the U.S. military, U.S. Coast Guard, law enforcement and civilian roles. Unfortunately in the morning there was widespread low-level fog which delayed some helicopters and prevented others from arriving, despite this there was still plenty to see and it was a very hands on experience with the helicopters being open for inspection including sitting in the cockpit.

Here comes the US Army Air Cav!

US Army OH-58 Kiowa UH-60 Blackhawk AH-64D Apache
US Army Bell OH-58D Kiowa, Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk & Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow

The highlight of the show was the U.S. Army Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter.

AH-64D Apache Longbow
AH-64D
Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow American Heroes Air Show Seattle
A view you would not want to have in combat!

This is the latest variant of the Apache with advanced sensors and a glass cockpit (the original AH-64A came into service in 1986). The crew receive a lot of target information when these sensors are operational (the radar can track 128 targets!), so much so that one of the crew told me they turned off a lot of equipment during their most recent tour of duty in Iraq due to sensory overload!

AH-64D Forward Cockpit and M230 chain gun
Co-pilot/Gunner cockpit and M230 Chain Gun
AH-64 Apache Co-pilot gunner cockpit
Forward Co-Pilot/Gunner cockpit
AH-64D Apache Glass Cockpit Forward Co-Pilot/Gunner cockpit
“Glass Cockpit” of the forward Co-Pilot/Gunner
Boeing Apache Pilot Cockpit
Pilots cockpit

With a top speed of 284 kmph (176 mph) and armed with a 30mm M230 chain gun (with up to 1,200 high explosive rounds it can fire at a high rate of 625 rpm!), Hellfire missiles and rocket pods the Apache is a flying beast! The chain gun will automatically point where the gunner or pilot looks (depending who has the sensor activated), as it is linked to a helmet mounted display. The crew told me though they tended to use the Hellfire missile more in recent combat as it is less likely to inflict “collateral damage”!

Apache M230 Chain Gun
M230 Chain Gun
Boeing AH-64D Apached M230 Chain Gun
M230 Chain Gun
AH-64 Apache Hellfire Missiles rocket pod
Hellfire missiles and rocket pod

It was great to be able to have a close up look at the Apache and even sit in the cockpit, but the highlight was to see (and hear) it fly!

AH-64D lift off American Heroes Air Show Seattle Museum of Flight
Lift off!
Boeing AH-64 Apache
Watching you!
Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow in flight Seattle
Here comes the Apache!
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