How many times have we discussed the post-Vietnam era weapon acquisition of the “Big Five?” The M1 tank, M2/M3 Bradley, the MIM-104 Patriot missile system, the UH-60 Blackhawk transport helicopter, and the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter were all key components of the modernization of the Army after a generation of procurement lost to Vietnam.
We like to think of the Apache as being cutting edge technology. And to some extent it really still is. But we do have to acknowledge that it first flew in 1975.
This video touting the survivability of the Apache shows improvements to the weapons, countermeasures, and survivability of the Apache over its predecessor, the AH-1.
Sharp observers will note that the YAH-64 shown differed in a couple significant ways from today’s production model. The horizontal stabilizer used to be mounted at the top of the tail, but is now at the bottom. The profile of the nose has changed somewhat, as the YAH-64 didn’t have the complete TADS/PNVS installed. The sponsons along the nose are longer on the production model.
Production models also have far better Radar Homing and Warning devices and flare/chaff dispensers.
Still, the Apache is not invulnerable. But it was a great improvement over the limitations of the preceding AH-1 Cobra family of helicopters.