The Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) has taken delivery of the first batch of Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters during a ceremony at Boeing’s facility in Mesa, Arizona on Friday, March 15.
The delivery ceremony was attended by Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah, Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs. The aircraft is being procured under “Project Brimstone” and will be known as Brimstone in Qatari service.
The U.S. State Department had approved the sale of 24 AH-64D Apache Block III (now called AH-64E Apache Guardian) Longbow attack helicopters on July 12, 2012 through Foreign Military Sale (FMS) route. Qatar placed the $667.5 million order for the helicopters in 2016.
The deliveries of the helicopters are scheduled to be completed by the end of May 2020.
The QEAF AH-64E helicopters will be armed with Hellfire II air-to-ground missiles (AGM), Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems (APKWS) II guided rockets, 2.75 in. Hydra rockets and FIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missiles (AAM).
The new helicopters will allow the Qatari Armed Forces (QAF) to replace its aging SA342 Gazelle armed scout helicopter fleet with multi-mission attack helicopters, capable of meeting its requirements for close air support (CAS), armed reconnaissance and anti-tank warfare missions. The helicopters will provide a long-term defensive and offensive capability to the Qatari peninsula as well as enhance the protection of key oil and gas infrastructure and platforms.
Boeing AH-64 Apache
Boeing AH-64 Apache is an American four-blade, twin-turboshaft attack helicopter with a tailwheel-type landing gear arrangement and a tandem cockpit for a two-man crew.
According to Boeing, the AH-64 Apache “is the world’s most advanced multi-role combat helicopter and is used by the US Army and a growing number of international defence forces.” The AH-64 has a large amount of systems redundancy to improve combat survivability.
Apache is armed with a 30 mm (1.18 in) M230 chain gun carried between the main landing gear, under the aircraft’s forward fuselage. It has four hardpoints mounted on stub-wing pylons, typically carrying a mixture of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and Hydra 70 rocket pods.
The helicopter features a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems.
The U.S. Army is the primary operator of the AH-64; it has also become the primary attack helicopter of multiple nations, including Greece, Japan, Israel, the Netherlands, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates; as well as being produced under license in the United Kingdom as the AgustaWestland Apache.