Dutch Say Farewell To AH-64D Apache Helicopters | Aviation

Ah 64d Top.jpg

AH-64D Q-29 making a 360 turn. Still visible underneath the front cockpit are the SFOR (Stabilization Force) titles it carried during one of its deployments. (All images, credit: Author)

After almost 25 years, the old AH-64D ‘Delta’ will be replaced by the Echo version, also called the ‘Guardian’.

The Royal Netherlands Air Force is about to retire its last AH-64D Apaches operated by the Gilze Rijen-based 301 Squadron. Thirty Delta’s were ordered by the Dutch government in May 1995. After leasing 12 AH-64As from the U.S. Army the first Deltas were delivered in May 1998; four years later the last AH-64D was delivered to the Dutch.

In the end, 20 were flown by 301 Squadron from Gilze Rijen Air Base in the southern part of the country and eight were operated by 302 Squadron in the U.S., at Fort Hood, Texas, for training. They were very successfully deployed to the former Yugoslavia, Djibouti, Iraq and Afghanistan. The last foreign deployment was with four Apaches in Mali between May 2014 and January 2017. Unfortunately two Apaches were lost. One, the Q20, crashed in August 2004 in Afghanistan. A second one, the Q15, crashed in March 2014 in Mali, unfortunately killing both pilots.

After almost 25 years the old Deltas will be replaced by the Echo version, also called the Guardian, consisting of the 28 completely stripped and remanufactured current airframes. The first two AH-64Es, Q-37 and Q-38, were flown to the Netherlands with a C-17 last month for acceptance on Woensdrecht and these renewed Echos with their stronger engines, larger blades, better equipment and radar-dome on top should serve till 2050.

On Jan. 11, 2024, an official AH-64D farewell event for current and former 301 Squadron…

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