South Korea completes deployment of 36 Apache helicopters

By Elizabeth Shim  |  Jan. 27, 2017 at 11:34 AM
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Jan. 27 (UPI) -- South Korea has finished deploying new Apache helicopters.

The Boeing AH-64E, which features digital cockpit avionics and powerful engines, would be used to target incoming North Korea military tanks.

A South Korean military official said on Friday all 36 new helicopters were acquired in early January, deployed and are ready for combat operations, Yonhap news agency reported on Friday.

"These helicopters were organized into two battalions of the Army Air Operations Command," the official said.

The helicopters would contribute to defending South Korea in the case of an attack. North Korea is believed to retain more than 1,000 tanks, including the Songun-915 and the Pokpungho, also known as the M-2002.

The Apache helicopters can be deployed quickly to critical areas of South Korea, including the Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong Islands on the western coast of the peninsula, near the North Korea maritime border.

There are now a total of 84 Apache helicopters operating on the Korean peninsula, including 48 helicopters under the supervision of U.S. Forces Korea.

The AH-64E can exercise a powerful blocking effect against North Korea armored units and incoming air-cushion vehicles.

The helicopter has a maximum speed of 145 knots and has been rated as the highest-performance attack helicopter.

The Apache can carry up to 16 Hellfire laser designated missiles and can be equipped with up to 4 Stinger air-to-air missiles.

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