APACHE is Europe's first operational conventional warhead air-to-ground missile which can be launched from outside of the range of all anti-aircraft defences. It can hit a variety of targets, day or night, and is fired from 140 km away thus reducing the dangers for the pilot and crew. This stealthy air-to-ground standoff missile can be launched from the Mirage 2000, or the Rafale, both aircraft of the French Air Forces to neutralise enemy air bases and ensure the control of the skies necessary for troop deployment. The APACHE AP weighs 1,230 kg and is powered by a TRI 60-30 turbojet, and is designed for carrying and ejecting ten KRISS sub-munitions to neutralise airfield runways. The detonation of each of the ten KRISS sub-munitions, which are designed to penetrate concrete, can be programmed in order to prevent repair work being carried out and thus neutralise the airfield for a longer period of time. The APACHE AP is a stealth missile, with a low level of vulnerability achieved by its radar and infrared profiles (materials, shapes and propulsion), its contour hugging flight at very low altitude (weak signature "drowned out" by ground echoes) and the optimisation of its flight path with regard to defence systems (extremely detailed mission planning). The quality of its navigational abilities combine with its terminal accuracy to make it extremely effective. The APACHE IZ (Interdiction area) also forms a part of the 1997-2002 national military plan.
On October 30, 1997 Matra BAe Dynamics (a subsidiary of the Lagardère and British Aerospace groups), Europe's leading company in guided weapons, won an order worth approximately 1.5 billion francs from the French Ministry of Defence's Délégation Générale pour l'Armement (DGA), for one hundred APACHE AP missiles. The assembly of the missiles will take place in France at Matra BAe Dynamics' Selles Saint-Denis (Loir-et-Cher) site, with its La Croix Saint-Ouen (Oise) and Salbris (Loir-et-Cher) sites supplying components. The firing tests at the Landes Test Centre (France) and in Sweden represented the culmination of the development phase, which began in 1989. The first qualification firing was successfully carried out in Sweden in August 1997.
|Country of Origin||France|
|Similar Aerial Platform||Tomahawk, AGM-86|
|Role||Cruise, air-to-ground attack|
|Armament||Submunitions and HE warhead|
|Length||16 ft, 4 in (5.01 m)|
|Span||8 ft, 3 in (2.53 m)|