South Korea plans to deploy AH-64E Apache helicopters ahead of schedule

28 January 2016 (Last Updated January 28th, 2016 18:30)

The South Korea Ministry of National Defense is reportedly planning to deploy AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters ahead of scheduled.

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The South Korea Ministry of National Defense is reportedly planning to deploy AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters ahead of schedule.

The deployment of 36 AH-64E helicopters was initially scheduled for 2018.

South Korea intends to advance deployment to this year due to increasing security concerns from North Korea, which recently claimed it had conducted a nuclear test.

Yonhap news agency cited a Ministry of National Defense spokesman as saying that the country would deploy at least two AH-64E attack helicopters per month from May 2016 until February 2017.

Expected to replace the ageing fleet of Bell AH-1S Cobra helicopters for attack missions, the AH-64E helicopters feature 16 hellfire missiles, a 30mm machine gun, and Longbow's fire control radars (FCRs).

"South Korea intends to advance deployment to this year due to increasing security concerns from North Korea."

The FCRs are designed to locate up to 256 targets simultaneously within a 50km range.

The South Korean Army is also considering deploying the Chun-moo multiple rocket launcher, which is capable of targeting North Korean artillery as well as Korean Humvee KM-1 tactical vehicles.

The Boeing AH-64E is a heavily armed helicopter featuring fuel-efficient T700-GE-701D engines, enhanced rotor blade technology and electronics, as well as improved aircraft handling, performance and agility at higher altitudes.

Additional features include a joint tactical radio system, as well as electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) sensors to improve pilots' situational awareness, and an oversea capacity, enabling potential strikes on smaller ships.


Image: A Boeing-built AH-64E helicopter. Photo: courtesy of Boeing photo.