Latest updates[?]: AH-64 Apache
helicopters operated by the Israeli Air Force have been grounded
following a crash on Monday. The August 7 crash, which caused the death of one crew member and injuring the second, occurred between two runways at Ramon air base seconds after the pilot reported technical problems. This is the second grounding of Israeli Apache aircraft in three months after a routine inspection of the helicopters found a 7.8in (20cm)-long crack in a tail rotor blade. However, preliminary indications from an investigation do not connect the crash to the previously identified cracked tail rotor blade issue.
Israel’s attack helicopter fleet still flies AH-1 Cobras, but larger and more heavily armored AH-64 Apache helicopters began arriving in 1990, and have distinguished themselves in a number of war since. The country received 44 AH-64A helicopters from 1990 – 1993. Additional buys, conversions, and losses placed the fleet at 45 helicopters as of Flight Global’s World Air Forces 2013 report, split between AH-64As and more modern AH-64D Longbows.
The AH-64D Longbow’s sophisticated mast-mounted radar can quickly pick up tanks and other dangerous targets, but isn’t designed to distinguish civilians from combatants, or to hover close over the deck in highly populated areas. Confronted by asymmetrical urban warfare and budget priority issues, and faced with a lack of cooperation from the Obama administration, the IAF decided in 2010 to forego AH-64D upgrades for their remaining helicopters. On the other hand, the type’s consistent usefulness has led Israeli to make extensive improvements of their own, to the point where Israel has effectively created their own improved AH-64A configuration…