AH-64 Apache Longbow

Product Type:

Twin-Engine Attack Helicopter

Using Service (US):


Program Status:

In Full Rate Production

Prime Contractors:

Apache: The Boeing Company
Integration: Northrop Grumman Corporation
Integration: Lockheed Martin Corporation

The AH-64E

About the AH-64:

The AH-64A/D Apache and AH-64E Block III Apache Longbow (renamed Guardian) are four-blade twin-engine attack helicopters manufactured by Boeing. The Apache was originally developed by Hughes Helicopters in the 1970s (first flight on September 30, 1975), however, the company was acquired by McDonnell Douglas in 1984. In 1997, McDonnell Douglas merged with Boeing.

The latest variant, the AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopter (originally designated AH-64D Block III), is powered by two General Electric T700-GE-701D turboshaft engines with 1,994 shp each. The AH-64D/E models are based on the original AH-64A, which was deployed in 1984 and first used in combat in 1989 in the U.S. military operation in Panama. Between 1984 and 1997, Boeing produced 937 AH-64As for the U.S. Army, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The combat-proven AH-64A is still in service.

The first Apache Longbow was delivered to the U.S. Army in April 1997. The first AH-64D sold to a foreign nation was delivered in May 1998. International customers include Egypt, Greece, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. The U.S. Army has ordered more than 600 AH-64D/E helicopters. South Korea said on April 17, 2013 that it would buy AH-64E attack helicopters worth $1.6 billion from Boeing to improve its ability to respond to threats from North Korea (according to a government official, the order will be for 36 helos). The AH-64E was selected over the AH-1Z Viper from Bell Helicopter (Textron) and the T-129 from Turkish Aerospace Industries.

Key AH-64E Apache Longbow sensors include the Lockheed Martin/Northrop Grumman (Longbow LLC) AN/APG-78 Fire Control Radar, which has a very low probability of intercept. The radar automatically searches, detects, locates, classifies, and prioritizes fixed and moving targets on land, see and in the air in all weather environments and battlefield conditions. To date nearly 400 radars have been sold. Also, the AH-64E is equipped with M-TADS/PNVS (Lockheed Martin Arrowhead package), which is an advanced electro-optical fire control and sensor system. Pilots use the system for target acquisition and situational awareness. According to Lockheed Martin, M-TADS/PNVS improves system performance by over 150%, reliability increases more than 150% while maintenance actions are reduced by 60% (compared to the older TADS/PNVS system). Other sensors used on the AH-64E are the AN/APR-39 Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) from Northrop Grumman, the BAE Systems AN/APX-123(V)5 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) transponder, the AN/APR-48A Radar Frequency Interferometer (RFI) from Lockheed Martin, and the AN/AVR-2B(V) Laser Warning System (LWS) from Goodrich (now UTAS) (AH-64E Block III only - AH-64A/D use the AN/AVR-2A).

Countermeasures on the AH-64E include the Exelis AN/ALQ-211(V)1 countermeasures set and the the Exelis AN/ALQ-136(V)2 radar pulse jammer.

As of 2013, U.S. Army Apache Longbow helicopters have logged more than 1 million combat flight hours in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The entire Apache fleet has accumulated more than 3 million flight operating hours since the first prototype helicopter flew in 1975.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is currently developing the future replacement platform for the Apache. The Future Vertical Lift (FVL) effort will design and build a family of helicopters that will replace the current fleet of Apaches, Black Hawks and Chinooks by 2030.

AH-64E Longbow Remanufacture Effort:

The AH-64E Longbow remanufacture effort upgrades existing AH-64 Apaches to the AH-64E Apache Longbow Block IIIA configuration. The effort incorporates the AN/APG-78 millimeter wave fire control radar (FCR), radar frequency interferometer (RFI), fire-and-forget radar-guided Hellfire missile capability and cockpit management and digitization enhancements. The combination of the FCR, RFI, and the advanced navigation and avionics suite provides increased situational awareness, lethality and survivability. This program also provides for the installation of the Lockheed Martin Apache Arrowhead Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight (M-TADS) and Pilot Night Vision Sensors (PNVS).

The AH-64E Remanufacture Program calls for a total of 639 helicopters to be rebuilt through FY 2025. The first full rate production AH-64E remanufacture helicopter was delivered in March 2014. In FY 2015, the unit cost of a remanufactured AH-64E Block IIIA is $24.77 million (flyaway cost).


The Apache Longbow is equipped with an ATK M230 30mm single-barrel automatic cannon, which fires 625 high-explosive dual-purpose rounds a minute and has a capacity of 1,200 rounds in total. The gun is located under the fuselage. The AH-64 has four hardpoints mounted on stub-wing pylons and can be equipped with a combination of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and Hydra-70 rockets. Typical configurations include 16 Hellfire missiles for anti-armor missions (4x four-rail launchers) or 8 Hellfire missiles (2x four-rail launchers) and two M261 rocket pods with 19 Hydra-70 rockets each. For more detail, see specifications below. In the future, the AH-64 will carry the Joint-Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM), which is currently being developed by the Army and Navy in cooperation with Lockheed Martin. JAGM will replace the AGM-114 Hellfire Missile.

Price/Unit Cost:

In FY 2014, the unit cost of a new-build AH-64E Block IIIB is $35.50 million (flyaway cost) of which the two T700-GE-701D engines make up $1.45 million ($725,000 each). In FY 2015, the unit cost of a remanufactured AH-64E Block IIIA is $24.77 million (flyaway cost) = $10.73 million less than for the new build AH-64E.

Total Cost - Life of Program (LoP):

The total procurement cost of the AH-64E New Build program is $2.64 billion (estimated by the DoD). The total procurement cost of the AH-64E Remanufacture program is $13.49 billion + $1.59 billion in research and development (RDT&E) funds, which means the total estimated reman program cost is $15.08 billion. The two programs combined have an estimated total cost of $17.72 billion (numbers are aggregated annual funds spent over the life of the program and no price/inflation adjustment was made).


The AH–64 provides a fire-and-forget Hellfire air-to-ground missile capability, modernized target acquisition and night vision capabilities. Conducts rear, close, and shaping missions including deep precision strike. Conducts distributed operations, precision strikes against relocatable targets and provides armed reconnaissance.

FY 2015 AH-64 DoD Program:

Supports the remanufacture of 35 AH-64 aircraft to the AH-64E Apache Guardian Block IIIA configuration. Procurement funds in the amount of $1,055.2 million have been provided for AH-64 purchases and modifications + RDT&E funds in the amount of $86.1 million for the Apache Product Improvement Program (PIP).

FY 2016 AH-64 DoD Program:

Supports the remanufacture of 64 AH-64 aircraft to the AH-64E Apache Guardian Block IIIA configuration. Procurement funds in the amount of $1,494.5M have been requested for AH-64 purchases and modifications + RDT&E funds in the amount of $69.9 million for the Apache Product Improvement Program (PIP).

For more information, click to see the FY 2016 budget for remanufactured AH-64 aircraft and the FY 2016 budget for AH-64 new build aircraft.

Sources Used: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Alliant Techsystems,
The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corp., Northrop Grumman, Exelis,
and General Electric Co.

Specifications Armament DoD Spending FY2017 Budget

Last Update: March 9, 2015.

By Joakim Kasper Oestergaard Balle /// (kasper.oestergaard@forecast1.com)

External Resources:

Boeing: Boeing AH-64 Apache (Longbow)
Lockheed Martin: AN/APG-78 FCR
Northrop Grumman: AN/APG-78 FCR
Lockheed Martin: Apache Arrowhead M-TADS/PNVS

Orbital ATK: M230 30mm Automatic Cannon

YouTube: Boeing AH-64 Apache Longbow | YouTube Videos

Fact Sheet: Boeing AH-64 Apache | Fact Sheet
Fact Sheet: AN/APG-78 FCR | Fact Sheet

Total AH-64 Program Cost:

 $17.72 billion  ($16.13B procurement + $1.59B RDT&E)

AH-64 Procurement Objective:

  702 aircraft  (New Build: 63 / Remanufactured: 639)

AH-64 U.S. Defense Budget Charts:

DoD Spending on the AH-64 Apache and AH-64E Apache Guardian in FY 2013, FY 2014, FY 2015, FY 2016 and FY 2017
DoD Purchases of AH-64E Apache Helicopters in FY 2013, FY 2014, FY 2015, FY 2016 and FY 2017
AH-64 1st Cavalry Division
AH-64 during live-fire exercise
AH-64 Apache
Defense Budget Data

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DoD Spending, Procurement and RDT&E: FY 2013/14/15 + Budget for FYs 2016 + 2017

DoD Defense Spending, Procurement, Modifications, Spares, and RDT&E for the AH-64 Apache Longbow/Guardian Defense Program

Download Official U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Budget Data:

Purchases of AH-64E Aircraft (NEW) Purchases of AH-64E Aircraft (Remanufacture)
Modification of AH-64 Aircraft (ARMY) RDT&E: AH-64 Product Improvement (ARMY)

Aircraft Specifications: AH–64E Apache Guardian

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Primary Function: Attack helicopter
Prime Contractors:
Airframe: The Boeing Company
AN/APG-78 Fire Control Radar: Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin
M-TADS/PNVS: Lockheed Martin
Power Plant: 2x General Electric T700-GE-701D turboshaft engines with 1,994 shp (each)
Length: Fuselage: 49 ft 5 in (15.06 m); w/rotating rotor: 58.2 ft (17.7 m)
Height: 16.3 ft (5.0 m)
Rotor Diameter: 48 ft (14.6 m)
Weight (Empty): 11,387 lbs (5,165 kg)
Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW): 23,000 lbs (10,433 kg)
Speed: Cruise: 141 kts/162 mph (262 km/h); Max: 158 kts/182 mph (293 km/h)
Rate of Climb: 2,500 ft/min (12.7 m/s)
Service Ceiling: 21,000 ft (6,401 m) minimum loaded
Range: 257 nm/296 miles (476 km)
Armament/Weapons: 1x Orbital ATK M230 30mm single-barrel automatic cannon with 1,200 rounds;
16x AGM-114 Hellfire missiles; or 8x AGM-114 Hellfire missiles + 2x M261 Rocket Pods w/19x Hydra-70 2.75" (70mm) rockets each.
Crew: Two (pilot and co-pilot/gunner)
Price/Unit Cost:
New Build: $35.50 million (FY 2014)
Remanufacture: $24.77 million (FY 2015)
First Flight: AH-64A: September 30, 1975
Deployed: 2011 (AH-64E); 1997 (AH-64D); 1984 (AH-64A)

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