On Strategy Page: Apaches At War
The AH-64 fleet now stands at about 730 aircraft. Up to a third of them have been in Iraq at any one time. The AH-64 has proved very effective, and is in great demand for combat support and convoy escort. Because of the war, the AH-64s are operating at over five times the rate (hours flown per year) they would in peace time.
MO noted a couple of days ago that the helicopter deep attack mission had been pretty much scrapped, but the Apache’s performance in Iraq has been widely praised. If anything, maybe scrapping the deep attack plan will free up some training time to improve the CAS and anti-insurgency role even more.
The Apache has a reputation for being very maintenance-heavy. How would the maintenance of a light attack/observation aircraft along the lines of the A-37 Dragonfly or even a prop plane compare? Maybe another reason to consider adding such a fixed-wing aircraft to the inventory?