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AH-X / AH-64D Apache Longbow

Japan kept upgrading their license built AH-1S in order to use them for next few decades but Japan decided to change all of the outdated cobras into new attack helicopter (AH-X). The AH-X replacement programme for the AH-1 Cobra featured the AH-1Z and the AH-64D as the main contenders. The winner of the AH-X attack helicopter competition was the license-built Japanese version of Boeing's AH-64D Longbow Apache. On 28 August 2001, the Japan Defence Aigency said that it had choosen the AH-64D in preference of the AH-1Z for the AH-X requirement.

The Japan Defense Agency (JDA) selected Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) to produce the AH-64D Apache Longbow with unique requirements for Japan. Fuji Heavy Industries was appointed as the prime contractor for the licensed manufacture of Boeing AH-64D attack helicopter for JGSDF in 2002. And T700, 701 C engines of GE Aircraft Engine Company were selected to AH-64D battle helicopter of JGSDF. FHI is producing the aircraft under license from Boeing, which is supporting systems integration and aircraft production. FHI and The Boeing Company teamed for the production of the aircraft.

The number of introduction machines is two in 2006, with eight scheduled in total by 2008. The unit price of the introduction is about 7.4 billion yen, six times nearer than the usual UH-1J (about 1.2 billion yen or more). Up to 80 Boeing AH-64D Apache Attack Helicopters may eventually be produced.

The Apache Longbow features fully integrated avionics and weapons plus a state-of-the-art modem transmitting real-time, secure digitized battlefield information to air and ground forces. It can rapidly detect, classify, prioritize and engage stationary or moving opposition targets at standoff ranges in nearly all weather environments.

GE Aircraft Engines' (GEAE) T700 helicopter engine will power Japan's new fleet of Apache attack helicopters in an engine order valued at $50 million. The Japan Defense Agency (JDA) selected the T700-701C engine to power the Japanese AH-64D Apache Attack Helicopters. The T700-701C engine shares commonality with the current Japanese fleet of helicopter engines, and builds upon the existing support infrastructure to reduce cost. The T700/CT7 engine family provides higher reliability and reduced maintainability compared with other engines in its class, and has proven itself in battle, extreme environments, and in commercial revenue service. The T700-701C powers the latest AH-64D Apaches and UH-60L Black Hawk variants. The engine continually offers proven performance and experience, high reliability, low maintenance costs, and interoperability with U.S. and international Apache operators.

Fuji Heavy Industries succeeded in the first flight in in-house of combat helicopter AH-64D for the Ground Self-Defense Force that received an order from the Defense Agency on 25 January 2006.

Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) delivered the first AH-64D Apache Longbow multi-role combat helicopter to the Japanese government during a ceremony in Japan on March 15, 2006, signaling a new era in capabilities for the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force. The ceremony was held at the FHI production facility in Utsunomiya, Japan, where FHI will produce future Apaches. Japanese and international government, military and industry leaders attended the ceremony.

"Delivery of the new Apache Longbow for Japan ahead of schedule confirms the dedication and cooperation experienced between the Boeing and FHI teams in fulfilling Japan Ground Self Defense Force's fielding of its first two aircraft next year," said Patricia Carson, program manager of the Japanese Apache program for Boeing. "FHI has an outstanding record as an aircraft manufacturer that will ensure a high-quality product every time." Carson said Boeing and FHI have been working closely for the last year to conclude qualification testing of the unique configuration for Japan that includes incorporation of an air-to-air Stinger launcher. Following the initial aircraft qualification, FHI will produce the Apache Longbow aircraft in Japan.

Al Winn, vice president of Apache Programs at Boeing, said, "We are extremely pleased that the Apache will be one of the first weapons platforms with 21st century joint and interoperable capabilities deployed with the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force."




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