The Republic of China Army Aviation (RoCAA; Taiwan) has extreme difficulties keeping its 29 new AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters airborne. Part of the problem is a discovered material failure due to faulty production by Boeing.
The American manufacturer of the legendary attack helicopter is using a new aluminum-magnesium alloy for the tail rotor gearbox and this material seems to be the reason of corrosion in salty and humid climates such as in Taiwan. Nine AH-64Es are grounded because of this issue, while Boeing technicians are trying to find a solution but for now just advising ill-tested short-term measures.
Another 12 helicopters stay on the tarmac since there are insufficient spare parts to keep them airborne, sources inside the Taiwanese military confirmed. This leaves only eight choppers operational in a country under constant threat by mainland China.
The Ministry of National Defense yesterday said that corrosion woes with AH-64E Apache helicopters have led to the aircraft’s grounding, and Boeing, the US manufacturer, has dispatched a special task force to help identity and fix the problem.
The Apache Guardian is so far a very unsuccessful story in Japan. On 25 April 2014 one RoCAA AH-64E crashed into a house reducing the number of aircraft immediately to 29 shortly after purchase. Taiwanese Apaches were grounded for a while as well after a problem with the main transmission was discovered on US Army versions.
When the RoCAA can really make use of all its AH-64Es is still unknown.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) AH-64E Apache Guardian in action (Image © US Army)