Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Two Boeing Birds

Checked out Boeing's rotorcraft facility in Mesa, Arizona today (I first visited in 2008). Scoped the AH-64D Block II and Block III lines and the upcoming AH-6 Litte Bird line. Boeing plans to begin briefings on the AH-6i to the Indian Army by the end of this year (by which time they expect to win the IAF attack copter competition with the Apache -- that is still unknown). Impressive little chopper, the AH-6i, but couldn't quite figure where it would fit with the Army's requirements, what with the ongoing reconnaissance and surveillance (RSH) helicopter competition and HAL's Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) effort.

On the Apache, the variant on offer to the IAF is the Block-III. The specimen fielded for three-week trials was a modified Block II with a great deal of Block III parts, including composite rotor, fuel tanks etc. The platform had the performance of a Block III, says Boeing, but without the avionics (the Boeing folks say the only spare they needed to use over those three weeks was an adhesive bond-on trim tab for the composite rotor). Boeing hasn't received word on how many Longbows the IAF is interested in (one in three US Army Apaches is a Longbow).

Am at Long Beach, California now. Tomorrow is the 'major join' ceremony of India's first C-17 where the forward, aft and fuselage sections will come together along with the wing assemblies. Stay tuned for photos and updates on the C-17 programme -- the largest Indo-US defence contract so far.

Photos / Shiv Aroor

8 comments:

joydeep ghosh said...

@Shiv Aroor

2 questions

1. Which one of above Apache Longbow's are Block II and Block III

2. Doesnt the Little Bird look like Indian Lancer helo with extended nose and extra weapons.

hope to get answers

thanks

Joydeep Ghosh

Shiv Aroor said...

@joydeep: the Apache in the photos is a single platform, a Block III for the US Army. And no, I don't think the AH-6 looks anything like the Lancer.

Anonymous said...

shiv sorry to say but you always act like an agent of american weapon ..I know you delete my post...as truth is hard to swallow

Anonymous said...

AH-6I is latest in Little bird family, It a dedicated COIN Gunship, Presently Indian Army use Lancer for this purpose COIN ops..

Joy said...

A single squadron of these birds can wipe out a whole tank division.

Anonymous said...

Its like visiting a candy shop where all items are unique & tempting and cannot make up my mind which one to buy and how many.

Anonymous said...

What an irony that the Indian Air Force should be procuring these and denying the Indian Army an opportunity to operate these, while in the United States, the home country of the Apache, it is the U.S Army that operates it day in and out. The specimen on display has U.S Army emblazoned all over it !

Anonymous said...

The AH6I can be used for special forces quick entry exit operations.