US ARMY AH-64D APACHE
In the Air Tattoo static park will be an AH-64D from US Army Europe unit 2-159th AVN (ARB) at Illesheim, Germany. The AH-64 Apache, originally a Hughes and then a McDonnell Douglas product but now under the Boeing umbrella, is probably the most famous attack helicopter in the world. First flown in prototype form way back in 1975, deliveries to the US Army began in 1984. The type was foreseen as combating Warsaw Pact armour, but with the end of the Cold War it gained worldwide recognition for its successful part in 1991's Operation 'Desert Storm' ground offensive, driving Iraqi forces from Kuwait using its 30mm M230 gun, Hydra 70 rockets and AGM-114 Hellfire anti-tank missiles. Following on from the initial AH-64A model, the AH-64D - the so-called Longbow Apache on account of its Longbow fire control radar - began arriving in US Army service during 1997. The type has been very active in recent years in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Boeing says that, as of January 2015, the US Army Apache fleet has accumulated "more than 3.9 million flight hours" in the past 31 years. Further upgrades are resulting in the AH-64E, incorporating an improved engine, transmission, rotor blades and communications equipment.