Boeing Apache Helicopter in Flight

History of the Boeing AH-64 Apache Helicopter

The Boeing AH-64 Apache Helicopter is a hallmark in the history of military aviation. Born out of a need for an advanced attack helicopter, the Apache has proven itself repeatedly. This article explores the history, features, deployment, and evolution of this remarkable helicopter.

Early Development

In the 1970s, Hughes originally designed the AH-64 Apache to meet an Army requirement. Yet, production only began in 1982. Deployment came in 1986, and 824 AH-64As became the Army’s primary attack helicopter.

Weapons and Transportation

The Apache’s quick reaction in close combat sets it apart. Equipped with the AGM-114A Hellfire anti-armor laser-guided missile, it can carry sixteen of these. Additionally, the Apache wields unguided 2.75-inch rockets and a 30mm M230 Chain Gun. Transportable in the C-5, C-141, and C-17 airplanes, it is still highly mobile.

An Illustrated History of Military Helicopters

An Illustrated History of Military Helicopters

A complete history of Army and Navy helicopters from the first visionaries to unmanned aircraft systems. This book, with over 200 helicopter photographs documents every generation of rotorcraft from early prototypes to the specialist helicopters of today.

Amazing text. As a Veteran helicopter mechanic I am passionate about all birds and their histories. Highly recommend this book. It sits firmly on my coffee table to spread the allure to friends and visitors alike. – John J.

Performance in Operation Desert Storm

In 1991, the Apache deployed extensively during Operation Desert Storm. Critics were proven wrong about its low performance. Achieving a readiness rate of 90%, it earned the nickname “Black Death” from the Iraqis. By war’s end, the Apache destroyed over five hundred tanks and hundreds of other vehicles.

Other Operations and AH-64D Longbow Apache

Boeing AH-64 Longbow Assault Helicopter
Boeing AH-64 Longbow Assault Helicopter

Besides Desert Storm, the Apache also played roles in the peace efforts in Yugoslavia and Bosnia, and the second Gulf War. A significant improvement came with the AH-64D Longbow Apache, featuring a millimeter-wave fire control radar and other enhancements. This model proved 400% more lethal and 720% more survivable than its predecessor.

From Boeing: Production and Features

Between 1984 and 1997, Boeing produced 937 AH-64As for various countries. Its high-performance engines, laser and infrared systems, and arsenal of weapons made it combat-proven.

Apache Longbow Enhancements

The radar-equipped AH-64D Apache Longbow brought further improvements. Its longer-range weapons accuracy and all-weather/night fighting capabilities added new dimensions. The integrated sensors, networking, and digital communications ensured real-time combat management and digital transmission of vital information.


The AH-64 Apache helicopter has evolved since its start through regular technology insertions. It continues to meet the needs of the warfighter today and promises to remain a crucial asset in the future.

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