The Boeing AH-64 Apache is an American twin-turboshaft attack helicopter with a tailwheel-type landing gear arrangement and a tandem cockpit for a crew of two. It features a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems. It is armed with a 30 mm (1.18 in) M230 chain gun carried between the main landing gear, under the aircraft’s forward fuselage, and four hardpoints mounted on stub-wing pylons for carrying armament and stores, typically a mixture of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and Hydra 70 rocket pods. The AH-64 has significant systems redundancy to improve combat survivability.
The AH-64 is adaptable to numerous different roles within its context as Close Combat Attack (CCA). In addition to the 30 mm M230E1 Chain Gun, the Apache carries a range of external stores and weapons on its stub-wing pylons, typically a mixture of AGM-114 Hellfire anti-tank missiles, and Hydra 70 general-purpose unguided 70 mm (2.756 in) rockets. An 18-aircraft Apache battalion can carry 288 Hellfire missiles, each capable of destroying a tank. Since 2005, the Hellfire missile is sometimes outfitted with a thermobaric warhead; designated AGM-114N, it is intended for use against ground forces and urban warfare operations. The use of thermobaric “enhanced blast” weapons, such as the AGM-114N, has been a point of controversy. In October 2015, the U.S. Army ordered its first batch of Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) guided 70 mm rockets for the Apache.