THE HAGUE (the Netherlands), May 15, 2018, Author: Galina Zdravkova (Bm), Photo: the Dutch Defence Ministry
The Dutch Ministry of Defence has announced its plans to rebuild the present fleet of 28 Boeing AH-64D Apache attack helicopters of the country to the AH-64E Standard for being able to use the modernized aircrafts until 2050, reported FlightGlobal.
The helicopters are fielded from 1997 and since then they have been heavily used, including participation in Afghanistan and Mali missions. Therefore, due to this long-term service, the recent more frequent technical issues, as reported by the Ministry of Defence, leading to “operational restrictions in circumstances with a high threat”, and the U.S. Army’s decision to stop supporting the D-model Apache and going to the AH-64E, the Netherland’s Defence Ministry decided “to join the US in the remanufacturing programme”.
The planned remanufacturing includes more powerful engines, new transmissions, and rotor blades. Other parts will also be updated to the latest standard. The project budget is estimated to be between €250 million and €1 billion and the works are expected to be fulfilled between 2021 and 2025.
The AH-64 Apache has been developed by Hughes Helicopters in the early 1970s and since 1997 the production has been continued by Boeing Defence, Space & Security. The AH-64D Apache Longbow variant has a glass cockpit and advanced sensors.