Israel resumes Apache upgrade programme

Tel Aviv
Source:
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The Israeli air force has resumed an upgrade programme for its earliest Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, with three more aircraft now being modified.

Previous plans had called for the purchase of additional AH-64D Apache Longbows, but a decision was taken to instead modernise the air force's A-model aircraft to the enhanced configuration. The work was frozen last year because of budget problems, but has now resumed to answer operational needs.

The three AH-64As now being modified at a Boeing facility in the USA are scheduled to arrive back in Israel at the end of this year.

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Israel currently operates 18 new and remanufactured AH-64D "Saraf" helicopters, with the type featuring some locally made weapon systems. In all, its Apache inventory totals around 50 aircraft, as recorded by Flightglobal's HeliCAS database.

Meanwhile, the Israeli air force is awaiting a decision from the US Army about whether the service will extend the service lives of some of its AH-64As. A decision to phase out the type would have an immediate effect on Israel's ability to use it.