In the early 1970’s the US Army wanted a replacement for the AH-1 Cobra so companies submitted proposals. In July 1973 the list was shortened to Hughes and Bell with each building a prototype in 1975. The Army selected the Hughes helicopter because its landing gear was more stable and the main rotor was more damage tolerant. In 1981 3 pre-production AH-64As were given to the Army for testing and named Apache. The Apache went into production in 1982 and has evolved into one of the deadly machines over the battle field.
In 2001 Japan chose the Fuji built AH-64DJP Apache Longbow to replace their Fuji AH-15 Cobras. Initially sixty aircraft were ordered with the first Apaches arriving in 2006. But of the sixty ordered the number was reduced to only thirteen because by 2013 Boeing would discontinue manufacturing parts for the D variant as well as an extremely high cost per helicopter. In 2017 the JGSDF began to operate only one squadron of ten AH-64DJP Apaches with the remaining three going to training units. AH-64D JG-4501 BuNo 02-0001 first wore serial N3216N.