that was the only instance I have read of apaches in that role. are there any other material that speaks of this as a standard operational tactic?
it could have been done with a tomahawk salvo or ALCMs from B52s I suppose...the iraqi radars were all compromised and rivet joints could have jammed them.
carlo kopp has a glowing report on his demo flight and confirms something we had thought of - longbow apaches handing targets off.http://www.ausairpower.net/longbow-aa.html
The mast mounted radar and RFI allow the Apache Longbow to remain masked behind terrain, only exposing the rotodome and RFI to detect targets. MMWI Hellfires can then be fired from a concealed location, with the pylon angles automatically adjusted by software to clear the rotor and terrain. An opponent will see the missiles pop up over the horizon and dive down to hit. Since the weapons are fire and forget, ie fully autonomous, once they are launched the helo can immediately move away to avoid "counter-battery" fire.
The provision of a highly automated weapon system with basic sensor fusion is unique at this time to the Apache Longbow, and provides clearly unprecedented lethality in comparison with helicopters using only thermal imaging sights and laser guided missiles. Such systems are limited to engaging one target at a time, unlike the Apache Longbow which can engage many targets concurrently.
The Apache Longbow's capability however extends further, since the IDM datalinking allows an Apache Longbow to hand off targets to non radar equipped AH-64D Apaches. In effect it becomes the notional equivalent of an AEW platform vectoring shooters on to targets. The US Army CONOPS is for a section of baseline AH-64Ds to be led by one or more Longbow equipped aircraft, which will provide wide area situational coverage of the battlefield for the remaining aircraft. The Longbow is the "hunter-killer" and the baseline AH-64Ds the "killers" in the "hunter-killer" package.
This does not preclude the operation of sections wholly equipped with Longbow, or not equipped with Longbow. All aircraft can be fitted with the system, and all crews are trained to use it. The MMWI Hellfire can be carried by all aircraft, although it is most effective when supported by the Longbow.
A textbook "ambush" scenario would see a Apache Longbow led AH-64D section move into position masked by terrain and coordinating via datalink. The lead ship would then raise its Longbow system to detect targets, and then drop back under cover, while the lead gunner distributes the targets via "drag and drop" to the other aircraft in the group, to avoid multiple targeting. At that point, all aircraft can salvo launch their MMWI Hellfires and back out into a new position, while the missiles attack the targets. The software "remembers" the coordinates of attacked targets and flags these on the screen with an X to avoid redundant reattack and wasting of rounds.