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Apache

APACHE (Arme Propulsee Antipiste a CHarges Ejectables) was Europe's first operational conventional warhead air-to-ground missile which can be launched from outside of the range of all anti-aircraft defences. It can hit a variety of targets, day or night, and is fired from 140 km away thus reducing the dangers for the pilot and crew. This stealthy air-to-ground standoff missile can be launched from the Mirage 2000, or the Rafale, both aircraft of the French Air Forces to neutralise enemy air bases and ensure the control of the skies necessary for troop deployment.

The APACHE AP weighs 1,230 kg and is powered by a TRI 60-30 turbojet, and is designed for carrying and ejecting ten KRISS sub-munitions to neutralise airfield runways. The detonation of each of the ten KRISS sub-munitions, which are designed to penetrate concrete, can be programmed in order to prevent repair work being carried out and thus neutralise the airfield for a longer period of time. The APACHE AP is a stealth missile, with a low level of vulnerability achieved by its radar and infrared profiles (materials, shapes and propulsion), its contour hugging flight at very low altitude (weak signature "drowned out" by ground echoes) and the optimisation of its flight path with regard to defence systems (extremely detailed mission planning). The quality of its navigational abilities combine with its terminal accuracy to make it extremely effective.

The APACHE IZ (Interdiction area) also formed a part of the 1997-2002 national military plan.

The APACHE was originally a joint venture between France and Germany from 1983 until 1988 when Germany withdrew. Flights tests of an unpowered submunitions dispenser with a range of 10 km, and a powered version capable of 50 and 150 km began in 1986. By 1991, the program focused exclusively on the powered dispenser designed to attack both fixed and moving targets.

On October 30, 1997 Matra BAe Dynamics (a subsidiary of the Lagardère and British Aerospace groups), Europe's leading company in guided weapons, won an order worth approximately 1.5 billion francs from the French Ministry of Defence's Délégation Générale pour l'Armement (DGA), for one hundred APACHE AP missiles. The assembly of the missiles took place in France at Matra BAe Dynamics' Selles Saint-Denis (Loir-et-Cher) site, with its La Croix Saint-Ouen (Oise) and Salbris (Loir-et-Cher) sites supplying components. The firing tests at the Landes Test Centre (France) and in Sweden represented the culmination of the development phase, which began in 1989. The first qualification firing was successfully carried out in Sweden in August 1997.

In service since 2001, it is launched from the Mirage 2000 and the Rafale aircraft. The French government bought approximately 250 Apache missiles. It uses a GPS guidance system and has a maximum range of 200 km. Its warhead is composed of 10 Kriss anti-runway sub-munitions, weighing 50 kg each. MBDA continued the APACHE development program which eventually spawned several derivative systems including the SCALP EG, SCALP Naval and the Storm Shadow/Black Shaheen.

Matra (later Matra BAe Dynamics, MBDA) proposed a long-range, stand-off variant based on the APACHE design which would have a design range of 600 km. This variant was originally known as APACHE C, later renamed to APTGD (Armement de Precision Tire á Grande Distance), and was finally deemed the SCALP (Systéme de Croisiére conventional Autonone á Longue Portée de precision). France adopted the SCALP EG (general purpose) variant in 1994. The SCALP EG, which is nearly identical to the Storm Shadow, went on to be the basis for the SCALP Naval version.



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