Originally designed by Hughes Helicopters and designated the Hughes Model 77, the AH-64 resulted from the US Army Advanced Attack Helicopter Competition. It was developed beginning in the 1970s by Hughes Helicopters as a replacement for the Bell AH-1 Cobra. The prototype YAH-64 first flew in 1975.
The primary mission for the Apache was as a tank killer to deter the Soviet threat to Europe at that time. The first production Apache was delivered to the U.S. Army in January 1984 and first saw combat in 1989 during Operation Just Cause in Panama. Armaments included the Hellfire anti-tank missile, Hydra 70mm unguided rockets and a 30mm chain gun mounted under the nose.
The AH-64A is still in service, but has been largely replaced by the AH-64D Longbow Apache which entered service in 1997. Its missions have expanded to also include armed reconnaissance, armed escort, and close combat support.
VTOL type: Helicopter
Lift devices: 1 Single main rotor
Dedicated control device: 1 Tail rotor
Crew required: 2 in Tandem arrangement
Landing gear: Wheels (non-retractable)