Thursday, June 16, 2011

Blast from the past...Sea Apache.

I get asked occasionally why no Sea Apache?  The US Marine Corps is famous for 'not reinventing the wheel'....if a weapon system is applicable to Marine Corps use and works then its easier, simpler and more cost effective to procure that system.

Assuming of course that it meets Marine Corps doctrine.

The proposed Sea Apache unfortunately did not meet those requirements and was never pursued.  Luckily Aviastar has a wonderful article on the concept and its worth a read.(all pics are from Aviastar)


  1. OMG!


    Hell stick a dipping sonar in the belly, a couple torpedoes on the wings then fit her for AMRAAMs and we can replace the Seahawk and the Harrier!

    Oh!!! Awesome Idea...

    Wait for it...

    Joint Strike HELICOPTER!! Its a gunship for the Marines and Army and a ASW/OTH targeting chopper for the Navy.

    Funny thing is that a few years ago I read a trash techno-thriller novel about a US war with Argentina (helping the Brits out) and the USN Stealth Destroyer in the book had a "Sea Comanche" ASW Gunship. The chopper sinks warships and submarines and even shoots down enemy fighters and patrol planes. I thought it was full of crap, but it looks like they really thought about it! Now I wish I kept the book (I donated it to the library for a used book sale).

  2. well if you want a do it all helicopter then you're looking at the blackhawk family with the armed battlefield helicopter (something like that)

    its a variation on the Night Stalkers deep armed penetrator...just toned down a bit for conventional forces.

  3. If you want to optimize for land attack but have a sea-attack back up role, this kind of approach makes some sense. If you are optimizing for maritime patrol/attack going with an MV-22 derivative gets you a much more capable air-frame for a not too much larger deck footprint.

    For maritime use the vastly improved speed/range/payload of the Osprey is a much bigger deal than being able to fight in a nap of the earth environment like the Apache was designed for.

  4. yeah but take that one step further.

    if you want ultimate speed, range and payload then a V/STOL fighter (F-35) makes the most sense.

  5. But it would not be as sexy looking. An Apache cockpit on a streamlined airframe- it just screams Dropship from Aliens.

  6. Ref V/STOL fighter: true enough but again it depends a lot on what you are optimizing for. Maritime patrol aircraft look a lot more like Ospreys than they do like Harriers. For anything except air to air combat or over land strike, an Osprey type platform is going to do much more for the dollar, gallon of fuel, and square feet of deck and hanger space.

  7. I agree with BB1984, if you need MPA duties at the speed of a VSTOL fighter thats what ASROCs and Harpoons are for. For the MPA mission you want lots of loiter time, not speed.

    ASW = Awfully Slow Warfare

    The V-22 is an incredible airframe for MPA duties but it can't be deployed from a Frigate or Destroyer like a Sea Apache could be, and considering how poorly armed the current USN FFG7 class ships are a Sea Apache would make sense to have (assuming we kept the FFG7s around any longer)

  8. Put them on the FFG7's? Nah, put them on the LCS along with a mk41 VLS, a frigate version of Aegis, a rack of harpoons and then you have a boat that can take care of herself.

  9. Sea Apache is a fascinating concept. Put them on navalized JHSV to support the Marines in a LMOFTS mission.

    LCS - forget that sub-optimal platform


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