posted on Jun, 12 2005 @ 08:58 PM
One of the guys at work, a training courseware designer who was a retired W-4, took a one-year job with Agusta about seven years ago as a RDT&E pilot
(they were looking for someone with A-model Apache experience). He came back raving about the beauty of Lake Maggiore in northern Italy and the fact
that he got $100k (US) for flying in a cool airplane and then talking about it.
He said it was a great little helicopter, about 90 pecent of the Apache for about 70 percent of the price, but no one would buy it on the
international market because it didn't have the logistical tail that McDonnell Douglas or Bell did.
And he was right. The Agusta, Denel, and Kamov are all good solid acceptable airplanes (the Russians would probably GIVE the Kamov away) but no one
bought them because of supportability considerations.
As far as I know, only the Italians fly the A129 helicopter, since both Germany and France were required politically to buy the Tiger, Australia got a
Tiger factory, the Turks ordered the Whiskey Cobra (they're re-thinking that, BTW) and almost everyone else bought the A- or D-model Apaches.
Interestingly enough, Westland Helicopters, the first company to build the Apache Longbow under license, has since merged with Agusta. Had this been
done ten years earlier, the Brits might've been flying the A129 instead of the WAH-64.
By the way, both the Westland and the Subaru Apache Longbows have a few whizzbangs that the McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) one doesn't, although it
doesn't have much to do with performance or firepower.