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German interest in Apache?


Dawes

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Interesting, though I see it's actually somewhat old news already with the RFI going back to March last year and has been previously reported here and here. The latter source speculated it may be due to low availability rates of the Tiger, which would make sense; though I suspect it was mostly to light a fire under Airbus Helicopter's collective butt to do something about it at reasonable conditions, or else. 

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  • 6 months later...

Pulling this back up due to the notable absence of the Mk III upgrade program for Tiger in the German rearmament plans, which France and Spain are going for; could be read as not throwing good money after bad and delaying a better successor. Of course neither is there any other mention of attack helicopters over the expected five-year duration of the 100 billion extra funds (other than getting a lot more H145M LUHs which can also serve light attack duties and were recently tested to fire Spike ER2), and with the Apache line currently expected to close down in 2026, after that it would be too late to get them.

Certainly the deadline could move with new orders by others, like Poland currently selecting between AH-1Z and AH-64E, or else money could come from the regular budget. Given the relative young age of the Tigers and German propensity to get maximum use out of investments, however disappointing, it's more likely though that any proper replacement rather than just backup by H145M will be post-2030; either an American Apache follow-on from the Future Vertical Lift program, getting in on the Leonardo AW249 development (not entirely without precedent - in the 70s there was some short-lived German-Italian cooperation on a future attack helicopter before either side went for the Tiger and Mangusta respectively), or hoping for a possible new European solution, manned and/or unmanned.

Edited by BansheeOne
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45 minutes ago, Ssnake said:

Bring back the Comanche!

Well, Bell is currently building its bootleg version of the RAH66, i.e. the 360 Invictus. First flight is scheduled for next year and it'll be part of the FARA competition.

Edited by Renegade334
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On 6/11/2022 at 7:11 PM, lucklucky said:

FARA is a recon helicopter program to replace Kiowa. I don't think that makes sense to build a specific recon helicopter.

FARA is also slated to (potentially) replace half the armies Apaches.

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I thought they had withdrawn Kiowa to be replaced by drones. Has that officially (or otherwise..) not worked out? They fitted the E model Apache with drone control capablity, which I always thought was rather silly. The gunner has more than enough to do as it is.

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3 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

I thought they had withdrawn Kiowa to be replaced by drones. Has that officially (or otherwise..) not worked out? They fitted the E model Apache with drone control capablity, which I always thought was rather silly. The gunner has more than enough to do as it is.

The drone capability is for use with data links allowing all members of the helicopter team receiving and transmitting data to each other. One helo will have the Longbow radar, one with sky guardian drone and one without. So whilst the gunner on the drone team will not fire as he's preoccupied flying the drone the others can.

 

 

Edited by TrustMe
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I was more thinking about navigating in the low level environment, which in the kind of combat environment as we see in Ukraine, is going to be awful tough on just one crewman. His eyes are out the cockpit 10 kilometres away or more, but it needs someone to help navigate and threat avoidance.

My view, fit a drone console in a Blackhawk if you must bring drones along with you.

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On 6/13/2022 at 2:49 AM, Stuart Galbraith said:

I thought they had withdrawn Kiowa to be replaced by drones. Has that officially (or otherwise..) not worked out? They fitted the E model Apache with drone control capablity, which I always thought was rather silly. The gunner has more than enough to do as it is.

Not sure, this goes back to 2019, i don't know if they've changed position or how serious they really were about it.

Also indicates that FARA is supposed to be optionally manned.....  just a big drone at that point?

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/27170/army-to-replace-nearly-half-of-its-apache-gunships-with-future-high-speed-scout-helo

The U.S. Army says it plans to replace nearly half of its AH-64 Apache gunship helicopters with a new pilot-optional attack reconnaissance rotorcraft, which could be either an advanced helicopter or a tilt-rotor design, in the coming years. The service previously only said its goal was to adopt a successor to the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior light scout helicopter with the new types and these new details raise questions about the exact future of the Apache fleet in general.

 

Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley first alluded to the plan in a response to a question about what the service calls the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program while testifying before Congress on Mar. 26, 2019. Aviation Week’s Defense Editor and our friend Steve Trimble was able to get more details from Milley’s spokesperson and was kind enough to share them on Twitter, before reporting first on the new developments himself.

“The FARA will only replace Apaches in our heavy attack reconnaissance squadrons and this represents about half of the Apache fleet,” the spokesperson said. “The FARA will not replace Apaches in the Attack Reconnaissance battalions.”

This is a major shift from the previously stated plan of simply looking for a follow-on platform to perform the same light scout missions as the OH-58D, the very last of which the Army retired in 2017. This had seemed like an additive requirement. With more 700 AH-64s in various configurations spread across its active-duty component and the Army National Guard, the service now says it is looking to replace close to 350 of those aircraft with the future FARA design, starting within the next decade.
Edited by bfng3569
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  • 3 weeks later...

Interestingly this year's armaments report published by the Ministry of Defense last week darkly mutters that a final decision on updating Tiger or alternative "options generating higher utility to satisfy the capability requirement" could be made in mid-2022 at the earliest. By current plans, of the 68 Tigers delivered 45 should continue to operate in the ASGARD-F configuration with mission data recorder, improved comms and ballistic protection plus sand filters. Twelve were upgraded for Afghanistan in 2012-2014; the other 33 were to be delivered until 2026, but only six have arrived since 2020.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Mostly

- 3 different version for 2 users with 2 engine versions

- a maintenance contract with the industry that was meant for pure peace time operations

- unplaned upgrades that were to be done under regular maintenance of the above mentioned contract

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One thing Apache has going for it is that after Germany already selecting Chinook as successor to CH-53G, it would further enhance the deep integration with the Netherlands which already operate both types. Would alleviate any logistical concerns about introducing an additional system with new ammunition etc., since we could just latch onto the Dutch supply chain.

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