The Israeli air force will be unable to upgrade more of its Boeing AH-64A Apache attack helicopters to the D-model Longbow configuration because the US manufacturer is set to close the modification line where the work is being carried out.

A batch of three Israeli AH-64As are being worked on at a Boeing facility in the USA. They are scheduled to be redelivered between late 2012 and early 2013, with the first recently entering flight testing.

Sources suggest Boeing will not commit to conducting additional upgrades from the A to D model which, if confirmed, will only leave Israel with the option of buying new-build Block III Apaches.

The Israeli air force operates 18 new and rebuilt AH-64D "Saraf" helicopters from a wider fleet of almost 50 Apaches. The service had considered purchasing more new aircraft before deciding to upgrade its legacy fleet. The plan was frozen last year because of a funding shortfall but was then restarted.

Source: Flight International