Warplanes: British Apaches See It All


November 29, 2007: When the United States sent UH-64D Apache helicopter gunships to Afghanistan, they left the Longbow radar at home. That's because this radar (that can be seen above the rotors) was designed to find armored vehicles, which were then attacked with missiles. No enemy armor in Afghanistan, but there are lots of mountain passes you have to get through, and carrying a few hundred pounds less of radar, makes it easier for a chopper flying at high altitudes. The British, however, had more powerful engines on their AH64s, and shipped them over with the Longbow equipment, just to see what would happen [PHOTO]. It turned out that the Longbow radar was quite useful in keeping track of the many friendly helicopters that were usually involved in a mission. There were even a few occasions where the enemy had trucks trying to escape in the darkness or a sandstorm. The Longbow radar could see through that ploy, as could the Hellfire missiles carried by the AH-64.

But the most popular weapon used by the British AH-64 has been the 30mm cannon [VIDEO]. Using high explosive shells, this weapon has the pinpoint accuracy, and the killing power, the troops need most from a gunship. Over 20,000 rounds of 30mm ammo have been used so far, and ground crews rig the choppers to carry more (than the usual 300 rounds) of the 30mm ammo.




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