Dutch aviators receive new AH-64E Apache flight simulator

By Defence Industry Europe

The Dutch Ministry of Defence has announced the introduction of a cutting-edge AH-64E Apache flight simulator at the Gilze-Rijen Air Base. This state-of-the-art training tool marks a critical step in the modernization of the Netherlands' Apache helicopter fleet.


The AH-64E Apache pilots will now have the opportunity to train on this advanced simulator, with the first unit already operational. A second and final simulator is expected to be deployed later this year. This initiative is part of a broader modernization program, transitioning all Apaches helicopters from the Delta to the more advanced Echo version. Notably, Boeing is handling the upgrade of all 28 Apache combat helicopters in the United States.



Daily training is essential for helicopter crews, including Apache pilots. While actual flight experience remains crucial, simulators offer numerous advantages. They are quieter, consume less fuel, and are not dependent on weather conditions. Furthermore, simulators require less maintenance than real helicopters and can operate continuously.

Simulated training allows for the realistic replication of complex missions under various conditions not available in the Netherlands, including weapon deployment and operations with other aircraft, even unmanned ones. Despite these benefits, real flying is still necessary. Simulators cannot perfectly replicate certain aspects, such as the level of vibrations, sounds, and visual information of actual flight. Activities like low-flying and night-flying, as well as collaboration with other defense branches and emergency services, are still best conducted with real aircraft.


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The upgraded AH-64E Apache helicopters boast enhanced features, including increased engine power, composite rotor blades, and new radar systems and sensors. The first two upgraded Apaches have already returned to the Netherlands, with two more expected shortly.



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