The Israeli Air Force (IAF) is integrating two new systems in AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters in an effort to help enhance the aircraft’s ability to defend against threats.
Israeli Air Force headquarters’ weapons systems unit official major Yonatan was quoted by FlightGlobal as saying that the systems are designed to detect the threat posed by missiles equipped with infrared (IR) or radar seekers.
The systems are "based on the huge operational experience of the force in using the Apache Longbow in a variety of combat scenarios", Yonatan added, without providing additional details.
The new sensors have already completed a series of test flights in recent months, and series installation is expected to commence shortly.
The introduction of the expanded self-defence capability represents a part of a wider air force effort to make the AH-64D the premier tool for performing precision strike missions.
Apache Longbow pilot Lieutenant N said, "This is the ultimate war machine for short- and long-range precision missions."
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The Israeli Apaches are armed with Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire missile, besides a range of other air-to-surface missiles, some of which were manufactured by local companies.
In addition to this, the aircraft are fitted with advanced systems that enable aircrews to communicate with ground based forces.
"This is crucial, especially in surgical operations, when it is important to pull the trigger only when we are sure that only the designated target will be hit," Lieutenant N said.
Powered by two GE T700-701D engines, the AH-64 Apache is primarily used for distributed operations, deep precision strikes against relocatable targets, and providing armed reconnaissance when required in day, night, obscured battlefield and adverse weather conditions.
The Boeing-built helicopters are also in service with several nations worldwide, including Japan, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Greece, Kuwait, Egypt, the UAE and the UK.
Image: An AH-64D Apache attack helicopter of the Israeli Air Force. Photo: courtesy of MathKnight.