Aug 24, 2014 17:36 UTC
In recent wars, a lot of high tech gear has been upstaged by a surprising contender. Countries like the USA, Canada, Britain, Egypt, Iraq, and others are flying low-end turboprop business aircraft fitted with an array of sensors and a small crew. They’re cheap to buy, don’t use technology that makes export approval difficult, and are easy to maintain. Operating them is well within the capabilities of any country with an air force. Their sensors also offer more diversity and power than all but the highest-cost UAVs, in exchange for having just 1/2 to 1/3 of a high-end UAV’s mission endurance. No wonder many countries see them as a good complement to, or substitute for, existing UAV offerings.
Saudi Arabia has the money and clout to buy the expensive stuff. Nevertheless…
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Aug 24, 2014 16:33 UTC
Latest updates[?]: MoU with Indonesia to cover data & comms., as they prepare to receive helicopters beginning in 2015.
AH-64 in Afghanistan
The AH-64 Apache will remain the US Army’s primary armed helicopter for several more decades, thanks to the collapse of the RAH-66 Comanche program, and the retirement sans replacement of the US Army’s Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH). Apaches also serve with a number of American allies, some of whom have already expressed interest in upgrading or expanding their fleets.
The AH-64E Guardian Block III (AB3) is the helicopter’s next big step forward. It incorporates 26 key new-technology insertions that cover flight performance, maintenance costs, sensors & electronics, and even the ability to control UAVs as part of manned-unmanned teaming (MUT). In July 2006, Boeing and U.S. Army officials signed the initial development contract for Block III upgrades to the current and future Apache fleet, via a virtual signing ceremony. By November 2011, the 1st production helicopter had been delivered. So… how many helicopters will be modified under the AH-64 Block III program, what do these modifications include, how is the program structured, and what has been happening since that 2006 award? The short answer is: a lot, including export interest and sales.
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