First Koninklijke Luchtmacht AH-64D shipped to USA for modification to AH-64E model
Earlier Scramble Magazine reported that the Koninklijke Luchtmacht (KLu, Royal Netherlands Air Force) had the intention to modernize her 28 AH-64D Apaches to keep them sustainable and operational relevant for the future.
The KLu is currently in the process of this remanufacture programme in which the existing fleet AH-64Ds will be rebuilt, overhauled and fitted with new hulls, transmissions and rotor blades. There is also a need for more engine power and new and modern mission equipment. During the execution of the remanufacturing programme, the availability of the AH-64D of 301sq Redskins will temporary decrease. From 2025 onwards, it is planned that the Redskins are fully operational again.
As a first step, three AH-64Ds (serials Q-04, Q-05 and Q-09) had already been shipped from Gilze-Rijen air base to Main Support Base (MSB) Woensdrecht on 12 August 2020. At Woensdrecht, the process started to prepare the Apaches for shipment to the USA. On 17 November 2020, the three attack helicopters were transported from Woensdrecht to the harbor of Antwerpen (Belgium).
The Apaches will be shipped from Antwerpen to the Boeing facility in Huntsville (AL) where they will be completely stripped. All items that will see a new future in the AH-64E will be transported to Mesa (AZ), where the new Echo variant will be build. One of the Fort Hood-Killeen/Robert Gray AAF (TX) based Apaches (serial Q-03) has already departed to Huntsville.
Next to new fuselages, transmission and rotor blades, the modernization programme will also see the delivery of a yet unknown number of LongBow radars.
The KLu received her first Apaches from 1997, in total thirty were delivered (two have been lost in accidents). The AH-64Ds have seen a lot of action in Eritrea, Afghanistan, Iraq and most recent Mali.
The main fleet of the Dutch AH-64Ds is operated by 301sq at Gilze-Rijen. Eight helicopters are based with 302sq at Fort Hood-Killeen for training purposes.
301 Squadron: Q-01, Q-04, Q-05, Q-08, Q-09, Q-10, Q-13, Q-14, Q-16, Q-17, Q-18, Q-19, Q-21, Q-22, Q-23, Q-24, Q-25, Q-26, Q-29 and Q-30
302 Squadron: Q-02, Q-03, Q-06, Q-07, Q-11, Q-12, Q-27 and Q-28
w/o: Q-15 and Q-20
Photos: 301 Squadron