Gunship Academy

by Richard Sheffield


The AH-64A Apache is powered by two General Electric T700-GE-701 turboshaft engines. Each weighs about 420 pounds dry (without oil and fuel). Each produces 1690 horsepower under normal conditions. Should one engine fail, the other could produce over 1700 horsepower for a short period of time—enough to get the crew safely to the ground if necessary.

The transmission and gearbox for each engine are extremely sturdy. The gearbox can run without oil for 30 minutes, and the transmission can run dry for 60 minutes. This GE engine was designed with forward-area (battlefield) maintenance in mind. The engine covers fold down to provide a stable platform for repair crews to work from, and frequently serviced components are located within easy reach. Most items can be replaced by a single man in ten minutes.

Engine exhaust has always been a problem. These hot gases form a clear target for heat-seeking surface-to-air missiles. To combat this problem, passively cooled exhaust ducts, called black holes, were developed. This system brings in cool outside air and mixes it with the hot exhaust gas before venting it outside the aircraft.

Figure 2-3. AH-64A Apache Attack Helicopter
An Apache loaded with eight Hellfire missiles and two 19-tube rocket launchers.

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