Whereas the newest AH-64E variant will likely be produced till at the least 2028, Boeing is engaged on a brand new modernized variant that can complement the brand new plane of the Future Vertical Raise program.
Boeing was not too long ago awarded a new $ 1.9 billion contract to maintain constructing Apache helicopters, including 184 AH-64Es for the U.S. Military and worldwide prospects to the manufacturing strains, together with the primary of 29 Apaches ordered by Australia final 12 months. This contract follows a earlier multi-year $ 3.4 billion contract signed in 2017 for the supply of 268 AH-64Es. The Military will now obtain one other 115 remanufactured Apaches, with an extra 15 helicopters to be procured as choices, whereas the remaining 54 helicopters are a part of Overseas Navy Gross sales.
“We’re enhancing the U.S. Military’s assault fleet, whereas supporting extra accomplice nations and welcoming our latest Apache buyer, the Australian Military,” stated Christina Upah, vice chairman of Assault Helicopter Packages and senior Boeing Mesa website government. “This contract highlights the necessity for Apaches worldwide.”
This award comes simply because the U.S. Military’s AH-64 fleet surpassed 5M flight hours, a testomony to the Apache’s functionality, reliability and flexibility. The accomplishment, as noted by Boeing in the press release, is equal to flying nonstop for greater than 208,333 days or 570 years and 9 months. Moreover, 1.3 million of these 5 million flight hours had been achieved throughout fight operations in all of the operational theaters the place the helicopter has been deployed all through the years.
5 million flight hours.
You learn that proper. The @USArmy #AH64 Apache has formally flown over 5 million hours, persevering with to show itself as probably the most dependable and superior assault helicopter on this planet. Congrats to the Military and its Apache aviators! pic.twitter.com/sn2LIf7d2U
— Boeing Protection (@BoeingDefense) March 2, 2023
The primary manufacturing AH-64 rolled off McDonnell Douglas meeting strains in 1983 and was delivered to the US Military the subsequent 12 months. Since then, the service operated A, D and E-model Apaches, with the latter two being the variants presently in service. The AH-64E was inducted in service in 2013 and is being fielded among all units because the older AH-64Ds are remanufactured and upgraded to the brand new E-model. Final 12 months, the brand new variant was delivered for the primary time to the Nationwide Guard and to completely deployed models abroad in South Korea.
Boeing delivered the two,five hundredth AH-64 Apache helicopter in 2020 from the corporate’s manufacturing line in Mesa, Arizona. Legacy Apache deliveries, together with new-build and remanufactured helicopters, embrace 937 A-models by way of 1997, greater than 1,000 AH-64Ds between 1997 and 2013, and greater than 500 E-models since 2011. Greater than 1,275 Apaches are presently in service with 17 protection forces all over the world and the record retains rising, with Australia and Poland being the latest countries to order the AH-64E because the 18th and nineteenth operators of the sort.
Immediately’s AH-64E Model 6, or v6, Apache features integrated technologies together with communications and navigation capabilities to reinforce situational consciousness and coordination; a brand new, quicker multi-core mission processor for superior programs integration; and maritime functionality within the Hearth Management Radar for watercraft detection and identification together with a shorter engagement timeline. The helicopter’s improved drive system features a split-torque face gear transmission, a brand new GE T700-701D engine and composite predominant rotor blades that make sure the Apache succeeds as a extremely secure aerial weapons-delivery platform, says Boeing.
Boeing is now upgrading the E-model to Model 6.5, which is able to embrace up to date software program, and integrating the Military’s new improved T901 turbine engine, the identical that can equip additionally the UH-60M and FVL aircraft. Moreover, the corporate introduced the Modernized Apache in October 2022, a Boeing idea aligned with the U.S. Military’s future modernization efforts, maintaining the AH-64 a related, multi-domain deadly combat-multiplier for U.S. warfighters and worldwide prospects.
Within the press statements following the announcement, Boeing stated the Modernized Apache builds on the AH-64E v6 and is purpose-built to dominate in multi-domain battlefields, with an elevated attain, larger lethality and enhanced survivability. Among the many new capabilities, the Modernized Apache combine a digital spine, Improved Turbine Engine Program and Modular Open Programs Strategy to enhance and interoperate with present and future platforms. The Military is in reality planning to function the Apache nicely into the 2050s.
Boeing says the next six modernization parts present the framework for the evolution of the Apache v6 into the Modernized idea and supply the blueprint for continued dominance:
- Drivetrain upgrades to unlock Improved Turbine Engine (ITE) capabilities for enhanced energy, vary, effectivity and velocity;
- A Modular Open Programs Strategy (MOSA) for optimum interoperability, and quicker integration and fielding of superior capabilities;
- Superior mission programs to extend interoperability to the community and to cut back pilot cognitive pressure and workload throughout operations;
- Superior sensors and sensor fusion for higher and extra resilient connectivity throughout domains and operations in all environmental situations;
- Airborne long-range precision munitions, Air Launched Results (ALE) and potential future directed energy weapon system integration for elevated lethality;
- Superior sustainment by way of a extra succesful and decrease life cycle value airframe, in addition to inexpensive remanufacture and minimized procurement prices.
Whereas not talked about within the press statements, the Modernized Apache’s idea artwork reveals prolonged stub wings, which add two new weapon stations proven loaded with what may very well be a twin ALE launcher and a directed power weapon, along with 16 AGM-114 Hellfire or AGM-179 JAGM missiles on the usual 4 pylons. Additionally, the helicopter carries both an upgraded Longbow radar or a completely totally different sensor, as proven by the totally different radome mounted on prime of the rotor mast.