Friday, July 2, 2010

Greece to Upgrade 12 AH-64A+ Apache Attack Helicopters

The Greek Army seems to have decided to upgrade its older AH-64A+ Apache attack helicopters in order to bring them to the same standards of the latest batch of 12 AH-64D helicopters. Unfortunately only 12 helicopters will be upgraded from the 19 older models currently in service. The result will be a force of 24 AH-64D helicopters with an additional 7 older models remaining. The remaining 7 could be upgraded at a later date but this remains to be seen.

The smaller number of helicopters that will undergo an upgrade has to do with the current financial situation in Greece. The previous budget of €650 million will now most likely be slashed to €300-€400 million. The fact that there will be an upgrade at all is the result of the insistence of the Hellenic Army Chief of Staff who recognises the importance of this particular weapon.

The upgrade is also necessary from a logistical and support prospective as the older A models will soon no longer be supported as the model disappears from US service.


Hellenic Defence News note: It is a widely known that the Greek Army’s operational needs are for at least 2 full attack helicopter battalions of 24 aircraft each. With this current upgrade only one battalion will be available with a further 7 older aircraft of questionable readiness due to lack of support. Having served on the border in Greece and having participated in various exercises I know one thing. I would rather have a friendly Apace overhead and sit in an antiquated M-113 instead of no Apache overhead and sit in a BMP-3, Bradley or Marder. There’s nothing like having the world’s most powerful gunship at your side.

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