In an attempt to modernize its aging fleet of Apache attack helicopters, the U.S. Army wants to depopulate hundreds of its AH-64D airframes, making room for new ones and for further development in the field.
The Army is looking for a skilled contractor that can efficiently disassemble and dismantle the helicopters, reports suggest. Washington is looking forward to a plan that allows up to 7 helicopters to be dismantled per month – which will keep the contracted company occupied for years.
According to a circulated document from the U.S. State Department, work on the repair and dismantling of AH-64D Apache helicopters is expected to begin in early 2022 and be completed within five years (until 2027).
“The United States Government (USG) Army Contracting Command- Redstone Arsenal (ACC-RSA) is conducting market research to determine potential sources for the depopulation of the Apache AH-64D for the Project Manager for Apache Attack Helicopter (PM AAH) within the Program Executive Office for Aviation (PEO AVN),” said the notice.
“The USG seeks to identify potential sources that possess the expertise, capabilities, and experience to meet the requirements necessary to depopulate the Apache AH-64D Attack Helicopter, sourced directly to the Government.”
Additionally, the dismantled parts also have the scope to be reused for the newer AH-64E ‘Guardian’ helicopters, the latest version of the Apache lineage.
The AH-64D Apache
The AH-64D Apache is the U.S. Army’s primary attack helicopter, capable of providing support to the units under the full spectrum of warfare. The helicopter has been combat-tested in battlefields of the Middle East, Afghanistan, and North Africa, and is one of the most advanced and potent attack helicopters in service.
The ‘D’ variant was the first version to receive the famous Longbow fire-control radars, with an integrated networking suite that allows data to be shared with other units and friendly Apaches operating on the battlefield.
However, its successor, the ‘E’ variant is even a more upgraded version of the Apache and is called ‘Guardian’ to represent its increased capabilities.
The new helicopter sports a more potent Longbow radar than its predecessors, along with more powerful engines and the capability to control UAVs. It is also stated to be fit for all maritime strike roles.
Earlier, as EurAsian Times reported, Boeing had delivered the final five of the 22 Apache attack helicopters to the Indian Air Force. The attack helicopter fleet has already been deployed at key airbases along the LAC, especially in Eastern Ladakh.
India is one of 17 nations to select the Apache and has the most advanced variant, the AH-64E Apache that is also flown by the US and several other nations. The AH-64E Apache is equipped with the latest communications, navigation, sensor and weapon systems. It has an advanced Modernized Target Acquisition Designation System that provides day, night and all-weather target information, as well as night vision navigation capability.