The Taiwanese army earlier this year took delivery of the first of 30 Apache combat helicopters from the US and next month pilots and crew will begin training on the platform, which recently received a new designation from the US Army.
As a result of the significant upgrades made to the AH-64D Block III Apache during its development, the US Army recently decided to re-designate it the E model. To date, 25 AH-64Es have been delivered to the US Army and Taiwan received its first delivery during a low-key handover ceremony at Boeing Co’s Mesa facilities in Arizona in May.
According to Aviation Week, training for Taiwanese pilots and crews is expected to begin next month.
Photo courtesy of Boeing Co.
Following approval by the US government in August of contracts for full production of the helicopter, Boeing is now building four AH-64Es per month for the US Army, which plans to buy a total of 690, and three for foreign military sales (FMS). The US has also notified Congress for the sale of eight AH-64Es to Indonesia, 22 to Qatar and 22 to India, the latter under a non-FMS “hybrid” agreement.
If tests at the Naval Air Station China Lake in California last year are any indication, Taiwan’s AH-64E will be a far more formidable combat helicopter than its predecessors. During the drills, the E model reportedly countered realistic air defense threats and was able to maintain its position, unlike the Block II Apaches, which was “shot down” in similar exercises.
“The Block III absolutely frustrated these folks that operate these [air defense] systems,” Colonel John Lynch, attack helicopter manager at Army Training and Doctrine Command, told Aviation Week.
This was partly due to the aircraft’s ability to operate at lower altitudes and thus evade radar systems arrayed against it.
Part of the Echo model’s advantages are its improved composite main rotor blades, which are 15cm longer than those used on older models, as well as a new tip design and General Electric T700-GE-701D engines, all of which give the aircraft improved aerodynamic performance.
The AH-64Es’ new power-to-weight ratio also makes it safer for operations at low-levels and gives it a performance similar to that of the AH-64A, which was significantly lighter than the AH-64D Block II model, Lynch told Shephard Media, a defense and aerospace publication.
Taiwan’s 30 Apache helicopters, administered under a program named “Sky Eagle,” were included in an October 2008 notification to US Congress for about US$2.5 billion. Full delivery of the multirole attack helicopters is expected to be completed in 2017.
HIGH STAKES: An attack on Taiwan could prompt a joint response from the US and Japan, and trigger a global conflict that could bring down the CCP, Liu Tai-ying said The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would not be able to launch an invasion of Taiwan for at least another 10 years, Taiwan Research Institute founder Liu Tai-ying (劉泰英) said on Friday. To occupy Taiwan, China needs to transport at least 300,000 to 400,000 troops across the Taiwan Strait during battle, but it would lack the ability to do so for at least another decade, said Liu, a former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) treasurer and a close aide to former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝). The challenges that China would face during an attempted invasion of Taiwan would be even greater than those
CHINA CRITIC: Prime ministerial candidate Giorgia Meloni, the front-runner in today’s election, said that she would not renew a Belt and Road Initiative deal with Beijing Italian lawmaker Giorgia Meloni, the front-runner to become the country’s next prime minister, is expected to reverse course on Italy’s support for China’s Belt and Road Initiative and strengthen ties with Taiwan if a coalition headed by her party wins the country’s general election today. “Without any doubt, if there is a center-right government, it is sure that Taiwan will be an essential concern for Italy,” Meloni told the Central News Agency in an interview. Italians are to vote in a snap election triggered by the resignation of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi following a failed attempt to get his coalition partners
Taiwan from Thursday is to reinstate visa exemptions for passport holders from 65 countries. Mandatory quarantine for arriving travelers is to be lifted on Oct. 13 , when restrictions on inbound and outbound tour groups are also to be lifted. The following is a list of answers to common questions regarding how the new regulations are to affect inbound international visitors Which passports will have visa-free entry privileges? Eleven more countries on Thursday are to join 54 countries that were given visa-free privileges on Sept. 12. Passport holders from Japan, South Korea, Chile, Israel and Nicaragua can stay in Taiwan for up to 90 days without a visa. Taiwan is also to resume 30-day visa-free stays for citizens of the Dominican Republic, Singapore and Malaysia. Passport holders from Thailand, Brunei and the Philippines are to be allowed to stay in Taiwan for 14 days visa-free. Taiwan on Sept. 12 resumed 90-day visa-free entry for passport holders from the US, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New
HAWAII MODEL: While Hawaii held a referendum on becoming the 50th US state, Taiwan has never applied to join the People’s Republic of China, Miles Yu said China comparing Taiwanese independence to Hawaii seeking independence from the US is illogical, as Taiwan has never applied to be a part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Hudson Institute senior fellow Miles Yu (余茂春) said over the weekend. Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅), who is in New York for the UN General Assembly, has given multiple talks asserting Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan. In a speech to the Asia Society on Thursday, Wang likened Taiwan to Hawaii. “Just as the US would not allow Hawaii to break away,” Beijing “reserves the right” to seek unification, Wang told the gathering. The