War takes its toll on equipment, as well as men. In some cases, it wears out. In other cases, enemy fire or accidents destroy equipment. The USA has recognized this fact by funding wartime replacement expenditures as supplemental funding, which is outside the normal budgetary process. The intent is that this money will be spent on replacing equipment that has been worn out, damaged or destroyed, or will be used to provide specialized capabilities like MRAP mine-resistant vehicles that are directly related to front-line demands.
Admittedly, this hasn’t always been true. Politicians are what they are, and so are large organizations like the military. One area where this ethic has undoubtedly been honored, however, has been the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter fleet. This article covers US Army Wartime Replacement Aircraft (WRA) AH-64D Longbow buys, which are the only truly new attack helicopters in the America’s inventory. That will change with the new Block III model, which is more advanced than the WRAs.
AH-64D Program: Past and Present
The current contract brings the number of war-replacement AH-64 aircraft (sometimes called WRAs) under contract to 68. These WRAs supplement the 720 or so AH-64s that survive as of October 2005, out of the 821 AH-64s originally built for the US Army.
Apache helicopters are in very heavy demand as escorts for other helicopters in the war zones, to the point that the AH-64 fleet had logged more than 2 million flight hours by April 2006 – nearly 1/3 of which had been logged after Sept. 11/01. Apaches have also taken losses in combat. Even armor rated to stop 23mm cannon shells may not survive a missile hit, and helicopters are relatively fragile war machines, that can be seriously damaged if they take enough fire in smaller calibers, or endure an unlucky strike in the wrong place.
That’s a problem, because with the collapse of the RAH-66 Comanche program, and re-dedication of its funding into the ARH-70 Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH, future now uncertain), the UH-145 Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), and other programs, the AH-64 Apache will remain the USA’s primary attack helicopter for several more decades.
While a small percentage of the coming Block III Apaches will be new-build machines, the WRA Apaches will be the only new-build AH-64Ds in the fleet for a little while. Most of the USA’s fleet was remanufactured from AH-64A Apaches to AH-64D Apache Longbow status over a 10-year period, under 2 multi-year contracts that ran for 5 years each. These helicopters received equipment upgrades, and were also rebuilt to “zero flight hours” condition.
* The first multi-year contract was for 232 helicopters, and covered Lots I-V. A total of 284 helicopters, which includes the Lot VI helicopters from the second multi-year contract, were built to the AH-64D Block I standard.
* Another 217 helicopters in Lots VII-X were built to the AH-64D Block II standard, which adds improved electronics and software. All were built during the second multi-year contract period.
* The lateness of the JTRS program, and other issues, have delayed the future Block III model, and so January 2007 saw a contract to convert another 96 American AH-64As to the AH-64D “Extended Block II” standard.
Note that Block II+ or “Extended Block II” Apaches are the same as the current retrofitted standard for the Block II aircraft fleet, except for minor hardware differences associated with advancing electronics and improved sub-systems. The “Extended” or “Block II+” simply denotes a Block II machine that was remanufactured or built outside of the 2 big multi-year contracts noted above. Most of these helicopters will eventually be remanufactured again under current plans, this time to Block III status.
The new-build WRA Block II+ helicopters are assembled on the same line as the remanufactured Apaches, which is located in Mesa, Arizona. That facility holds the distinction of being the first Boeing location to win a Shingo Prize for manufacturing excellence (2005), due to its work in process improvement and lean production. Williams informs DID that AH-64 remanufacturing rates are fairly stable right now at about 3 US Army AH-64Ds per month, plus another 1-2 under the UAE’s program. In contrast, annual WRA contracts are variable, and use spare capacity within the facility.
Boeing is currently delivering new-build AH-64D Block II+ WRAs within 28 months of contract issue, and total orders stand at 68.
AH-64D WRAs: Program Contracts
Please note that the full fly-away cost of an AH-64D helicopter cannot be calculated from any of the contracts below. These contracts cover only AH-64D airframes and integration, or involve long lead-time items that must be ordered early. Expensive items like GE’s T700 engines, the Longbow radar mast, Arrowhead sensors, weapons, communications equipment etc. are bought separately as “government furnished equipment.” The contracts below provide for assembly and integration at Boeing, but they do not buy the equipment itself.
Unless otherwise noted, Boeing subsidiary McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co. in Mesa, AZ is the contractor, and contracts are managed by the US Army Aviation and Missile Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL.
February 20/23:Apache Digital Captive Boresight Harmonization DRS Training & Control Systems won an $11.3 million deal for maintenance and overhaul of the AH-64 Apache Digital Captive Boresight Harmonization Kit. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Feb. 9, 2028. US Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.
February 7/23: NLOS Lockheed Martin has announced the successful firing of its Spike NLOS (Non Line-of-Sight) missile from the Apache Echo Model V6 helicopter. The demonstration was performed by the company’s Precision Strike team at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. During the trial, the chopper launched two Spike missiles towards a stationary target in two different scenarios.
January 6/23: Laser Protection The US Army’s AH-64E Apache attack helicopters have been equipped with a laser protection system against short-range, heat-seeking missiles. Called the Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM), the new system defends against surface-to-air missiles and those from man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS). The CIRCM entered into full-rate production in 2021 and achieved operational capability in November 2022.
November 28/22: Spikes For Greece Media reports from Greece say Athens will hold crucial talks with Israel over the supply of Spike NLOS anti-tank missiles. Greece wants to equip its AH-64D attack helicopter, Machitis-class gunboat and Mark V Special Operations Craft with the missile. It is said that Greece’s General Directorate For Defense Investments And Armaments is against buying the NLOS. The talks, lead by a permanent director general of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, ll decide whether the project will proceed or delayed indefinitely.
November 3/22: Teaming Hardware L3 Technologies won a $20.7 million deal for the Manned/Unmanned Teaming hardware and technical and engineering support for the Apache attack helicopter. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received.
October 12/22: Modern Concept During AUSA 2022, Boeing took the opportunity to unveil its Modernized Apache concept to leaders of the US Army. Touting it as the next evolution of the current AH-64E v6 attack helicopter, the Modernized Apache can be differentiated externally from the classic Apache by its longer wing, which allows it to have three hard points per wing, upward-facing engine exhaust and the substitution of the chain gun with a laser turret. Powered by the new Improved Turbine Engine (ITE), Boeing is improving the drivetrain in order for the Modernized Apache to faster, further and more efficiently.
September 28/22: Drive System-Enhancement Boeing won a $16.4 million contract modification to Foreign Military Sales (Saudi Arabia and United Kingdom) for improved drive system-enhancement on the Apache attack helicopter, production line and for the Apache Longbow crew trainers. Work will take place in Arizona. Estimated completion date is August 30, 2024.
September 2/22: Sight/Pilot Night Vision Systems Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control deal for the purchase of Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Systems components and hardware for the Apache attack helicopter. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Estimated completion date is March 31, 2022.
June 28/22: Day Sensor Assembly Kits Lockheed Martin won a $22.1 million contract modification to procure modernized day sensor assembly kits and spares for Apache helicopters. The Apache is a twin-engined army attack helicopter developed by McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing). It entered service with the US Army in 1984 and has been exported to Egypt, Greece, Israel, the Netherlands, Japan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and the UK. Work will take place in Orlando, Florida, with an estimated completion date of November 30, 2024. Fiscal 2010 Foreign Military Sales (Egypt) funds; and fiscal 2021 and 2022 aircraft procurement, Army funds in the amount of $22,112,989 were obligated at the time of the award.
June 20/22: Refurbishment Lockheed Martin won a $13. 9 million deal for Apache helicopter refurbishment. The Apache is a twin-engined army attack helicopter developed by McDonnell Douglas, which is now Boeing. It entered service with the US Army in 1984 and has been exported to Egypt, Greece, Israel, the Netherlands, Japan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the UK. Work will take place in Arizona with an estimated completion date of December 31, 2024. Fiscal 2022 aircraft procurement, Army; and 2010 Foreign Military Sales to the Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom funds in the amount of $13,883,140 were obligated at the time of the award. The US. Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.
May 19/22: Reconnaissance Support The US Army activated a new air cavalry squadron tasked with providing permanent reconnaissance support to US forces in South Korea. The 5th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade was activated in a ceremony on Camp Humphreys, the largest US military base overseas. The new squadron consists of roughly 500 soldiers and 24 AH-64E Apaches, the latest version of the Army’s attack helicopter. The 5-17th air cavalry squadron also includes RQ-7B Shadows, unmanned aircraft systems that provide reconnaissance and surveillance assistance to aviation brigades.
February 24/22: V6 The US Army has completed the deployment of 24 AH-64E V6 attack helicopters to South Korea. The 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade disclosed that the helicopters were all deployed to Camp Humphreys on February 16.
January 31/22: Morocco Inter-Coastal Electronic won an $11.3 million deal for AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter Tactical Engagement Simulation System kits, spares, aviation ground instrumentation network and logistics support services for Morocco. Morocco inked a US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract for 24 Boeing AH-64E Apache helicopters. Work will take place in Arizona. Estimated completion date is July 26, 2027.
January 12/22: Version 6 in South Korea United States Force in South Korea, is being outfitted with newest AH-64 Version 6 (V6) helicopter. “The upgraded aircraft integrates modern technology for both the aviator and maintainers in our battalion,” Capt. Timothy Luchs, D Company commander, said. “For our maintainers, the new systems onboard allows them better diagnostic capability and decreases the downtime of the aircraft. While for the aviator, AH-64E provides an overall increased situational awareness with an upgraded sensor suite, level 4 manned-unmanned teaming, and an upgraded drive system which is a vast improvement over the Delta variant of the model.”
December 30/21: Hardware Components Lockheed Martin won a $102.4 million deal for production and delivery of hardware components and spares of the Apache Attack Helicopter Modernized Target Acquisition Designation/Pilot Night Vision Sensor System. The Apache Arrowhead (also Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor or M-TADS/PNVS), is an integrated targeting and night vision system developed by Lockheed Martin for the Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order. Estimated completion date is July 31, 2024.
December 27/21: New Engine Boeing won a $239.6 million deal for the Apache Improved Turbine Engine Integration Phase II. The US Army plans to use the next-generation engine in all Apache and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter engines. The service is also planning on using it on Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft it plans to field in the 2030s. Work will take place in Arizona. Estimated completion date is December 31.
November 12/21: Hose Assemblies Kampi Components won a maximum $9.7 million deal for hose assemblies supporting the Army AH-64 D & E Longbow helicopter. The AH-64 Apache is a twin-engined army attack helicopter. The AH-64D Longbow is fitted with the Longbow millimetre wave fire control radar and the Longbow Hellfire missile. Work will take place in Pennsylvania. Estimated completion date is November 9, 2024.
October 8/21: Greece Greece has decided to equip its AH-64D attack helicopter with the Israeli-made Spike NLOS missile. The missiles will also be installed on the Machitis Class gunboat and the Mark V Special Operations Craft.
September 28/21: Spare Parts Boeing won a $16 million deal for spare parts in support of the AH-64 Apache weapon system. The Apache is a twin-engined army attack helicopter. The Apache attack helicopter can be equipped with air-to-air missiles (Stinger, AIM-9 Sidewinder, Mistral and Sidearm) and the advanced precision kill weapon system (APKWS), formerly known as Hydra, family of guided and unguided 70mm rockets.
August 23/21: Technical Support Boeing won a $487 million deal for Apache AH-64 engineering services and technical support. The AH-64E Apache is designed and equipped with an open systems architecture including the latest communications, navigation, sensor and weapon systems. It has an improved Modernized Target Acquisition Designation System that provides day, night and all-weather target information, as well as night vision navigation capability. Estimated completion date is February 6, 2026.
August 12/21: Robotic Refuel $1 million in funding from the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center (AvMC) has been awarded to RE2 Robotics to develop a robotic system that can autonomously refuel AH-64 Apache helicopters in the field. Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center in Port Hueneme, California, is managing the project entitled Remote Robotic Refueling for Extended Missions (R3EM), which is part of the Autonomous and Robotic Remote Refueling Point (AR3P) program.
July 15/21: RSLFAC DynCorp International won a $27.6 million contract modification for maintenance support services for the government of Saudi Arabia’s Royal Saudi Land Forces Aviation Command (RSLFAC). The RSLFAC inventory comprises UAVs for reconnaissance and strike missions, as well as the following helicopter types: Boeing AH-64D, Bell OH-58D and Sikorks UH-60L. Work will take place in Saudi Arabia. Estimated completion date is July 31, 2022.
June 17/21: Programmatic Support DigiFlight won a $13.8 million contract modification for programmatic support for the Apache Attack Helicopter. The Boeing AH-64 Apache is a twin-turboshaft attack helicopter. It is equipped with two turboshaft engines, each providing 1,265kW. The American AH-64D has General Electric T700-GE-701 engines and the UK Apache is fitted with RTM322 engines from Rolls-Royce / Turbomeca. Work will take place in Maryland. Estimated completion date is May 23, 2022.
June 10/21: AH-64E Boeing won a $39.7 million contract modification for new-build AH-64E aircraft. The AH-64 Apache is a twin-engine, four bladed, multi-mission attack helicopter designed as a highly stable aerial weapons-delivery platform. The helicopter is designed as a weapons delivery platform and is equipped with: a M230E1, 30mm automatic gun, aerial rockets system, and point target weapons system. Work will take place in Mesa, Arizona. Estimated completion date is October 31, 2025.
June 4/21: Night Vision Sensor Lockheed Martin won a $49.5 million deal for the AH-64 Apache Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor performance-based logistics program. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. The Apache is a twin-engined army attack helicopter. The US Army has more than 800 Apaches in service, and more than 1,000 have been exported. Work will take place in Florida. Estimated completion date is December 31, 2025.
June 3/21: Estonia A UK Apache ground crew has been preparing for their latest deployment to Estonia. The Force was created as part of Future Soldier, the Army’s transformation plan. It will be ready to respond rapidly to any threat, anywhere in the world, including to deliver humanitarian support. The Task Force will support the Apache Helicopter Gunships, ensuring they are refuelled and rearmed ready to take on the enemy. The Wildcat helicopter is also part of the Task Force, and will be used together with the Apache to provide reconnaissance and attack elements.
May 21/21: Legacy Strap Pack Assembly Boeing won a $7.6 million contract modification for integration of the legacy strap pack assembly for remanufactured AH-64E aircraft. The AH-64 Apache is a twin-engine, four bladed, multi-mission attack helicopter designed as a highly stable aerial weapons-delivery platform. The AH-64E features improved digital connectivity, the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System, more powerful T700-GE-701D engines with upgraded face gear transmission to accommodate more power, capability to control UAVs, full IFR capability, and improved landing gear. Work will take place in Mesa, Arizona. Estimated completion date is January 31, 2024.
February 1/21: Quality Improvement Boeing won a $25.4 million deal to improve the quality of the Apache Attack Helicopter AH-64E and lessen the associated post production maintenance burden. The AH-64 Apache is a twin-engine, four bladed, multi-mission attack helicopter designed as a highly stable aerial weapons-delivery platform. With a tandem-seated crew consisting of the pilot, located in the rear cockpit position and the co-pilot gunner (CPG), located in the front position. With the addition of improved situational awareness, flight performance, and joint interoperability, the AH-64E has become the most advanced aerial fighting vehicle in the world. Work will take place in Mesa, Arizona. Estimated completion date is December 31, 2024.
January 18/21: Australia Canberra selected the Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter to replace the Australian Army’s fleet of 22 Airbus Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters (ARHs), Australian Defense Minister Linda Reynolds said. The first of 29 Apaches equipped with improved sensors, communications suites, attack capabilities, and improved survivability is expected to be delivered in 2025, said the minister. While formal approval by the US State Department for the acquisition has yet to be announced by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the cost of the 29 Apaches together with spares, sensors, communications, training, and facilities is expected to be around $3.1 billion, sources said.
December 21/20: Technical Support L3 Technologies won a $29.2 million deal for the manned/unmanned teaming hardware, as well as technical and engineering support, for the Apache helicopter. The Apache attack helicopter was developed by Boeing for the US armed forces. It entered service with the US Army in 1984. is an American twin-turboshaft attack helicopter with a tailwheel-type landing gear arrangement and a tandem cockpit for a crew of two. It features a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems. Work will take place in Salt Lake City, Utah. Estimated completion date is June 30, 2023.
December 1/2020: Britsh AH-64E Delivered The first two of fifty new Apache AH-64E attack helicopters have been delivered to the British Army. The British Army expects to operate 50 AH-64E aircraft. Approval for the upgrade of fifty of the UK’s WAH-64 fleet to AH-64E Apache Guardian standard was given by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency in August 2015 however in July 2016, the UK placed an order for 50 AH-64Es through the US Foreign Military Sales program instead of upgrading their Westland-built WAH-64s. To date, more than 500 AH-64E model Apaches have been delivered worldwide. “The arrival of the first Apache E model attack helicopter to be delivered to the British Army over the next two years marks the beginning of a significant uplift in capability to enhance the army’s contribution across the spectrum of military operations,” Major General Jez Bennett, Director Capability, was quoted as saying.
October 15/20: Generic Spare Parts Kits Longbow Ltd. won a $32.2 million contract modification for generic spare parts kits for AH-64E Apache helicopters. The AH-64 Apache is a multirole combat helicopter with integrated avionics and weapons, as well as advanced digital communications to enable real-time, secure transfer of battlefield information to air and ground forces. The E-model Apache Guardian features enhanced performance, joint digital operability, improved survivability and cognitive decision aiding, and reduced operating and support costs, Boeing officials say. Work will take place in Orlando, Florida. Estimated completion date is April 30, 2024.
July 3/20: Exercises in the Arabian Gulf The United Arab Emirates’ Joint Aviation Command concluded joint exercises in the Arabian Gulf with US forces, the US Marines said on Wednesday. The naval and air training operations were conducted from June 21 to June 25 and centered on the US Navy’s USS Lewis B. Pulller, an expeditionary mobile base vessel. The operations included tracking and engagement of simulated fast-attack craft, and UAE pilots of CH-47F, Bell 407, AH-64D and UH-60M helicopters completed deck landing qualifications aboard the ship.
November 1/19: Logistics Support Boeing won a $62.3 million contract modification for performance-based logistics support for the AH-64D/E Apache Attack helicopter. The AH-64 Apache is the Army’s heavy division/corps attack helicopter. The AH-64D Longbow remanufacture effort incorporates a millimeter wave fire control radar, radar frequency interferometer, fire-and-forget radar-guided HELLFIRE missile and cockpit management and digitization enhancements. The helo has a four-blade main rotor and a four-blade tail rotor. The crew sits in tandem, with the pilot sitting behind and above the copilot/gunner. Both crew members are capable of flying the aircraft and performing methods of weapon engagements independently. Work will take place in Mesa, Arizona. Estimated completion date will be April 30, 2024.
May 1/19: Saudi Arabia Boeing was tapped for post-production system support including product support of the Apache aircraft for the Saudi Arabia National Guard. The Foreign Military Sales contract modification awarded by the US Army is worth $39.5 million. In 2008, the US approved the purchase of 12 AH-64Ds requested by Saudi Arabia. In October 2010, Saudi Arabia requested a further 70 AH-64Ds to improve its ability to effectively protect its borders. Boeing will perform work under the modification in the US and Saudi Arabia. Work is expected to be finished by April 29, 2020.
March 22/19: Qatar Boeing handed over the first of 24 AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters to Qatar last week. Qatar initially requested the helos in 2012, with the contract being signed in 2016. The Apache is a twin-turboshaft attack helicopter that features a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems. The AH-64 was designed to perform in front-line environments, and to operate at night or day and during adverse weather conditions. Systems on the Apache include Target Acquisition and Designation System, Pilot Night Vision System, passive infrared countermeasures, GPS, and the IHADSS. The AH-64E is the latest version of the AH-64 and is also called the Apache Guardian. The gunship comes with new sensors, avionics and has improved night operation capabilities. Furthermore, the AH-64E helicopter can control a couple of UAVs. Weapons requested by Qatar in the original Foreign Military Sales notification included AGM-114R Hellfire laser-guided missiles, FIM-92H Stinger missiles with air-to-air launchers, and 70 mm Hydra air-to-surface rockets. The first Apache was handed over during a delivery ceremony at a Boeing plant in Arizona.
April 25/17: Singapore is to upgrade their fleet of AH-64D Apache helicopters. The Ministry of Defense announced that it the program aims to equip the country’s existing Apache rotorcraft with enhanced Helicopter Integrated Electronic Warfare Systems and updated satellite communication solutions in a drive to enhance their mission capabilities. While the government added that the upgrade program is expected to be complete within the next few years, they did not disclose an official date. Approximately 20 Ah-64D helicopters have been operated by Singapore’s 120 Squadron since 2006.
Nov 1/11: A $29.9 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for 2 AH-64D Apache War Replacement Aircraft. Work will be performed in Mesa, AZ, with an estimated completion date of Oct 31/13. One bid was solicited, with one bid received (W58RGZ-05-C-0274).
This brings the total ordered so far to 68.
Feb 4/11: A $70 million firm-fixed-price contract for 14 new build AH-64D war replacement aircraft. Work will be performed in Mesa, AZ, with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/12. One bid was solicited with one bid received (W58RGZ-05-C-0274).
July 29/08: A $79.8 million firm-fixed-price contract for 5 war replacement AH-64D Apache Longbow Block II+ attack helicopters. Work will be performed in Mesa, AZ and is expected to be complete by April 30/11. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. There was one bid solicited on Dec 20/07 and one bid was received (W58RGZ-05-C-0274).
March 14/07: A $15.5 million modification to a firm-fixed-price contract for war replacement AH-64D Apache Longbow aircraft. Work will be performed in Mesa, AZ and is expected to be complete by May 31/10. This was a sole source contract initiated on April 4/07 (W58RGZ-05-C-0274).
Feb 7/07: Boeing subsidiary McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co in Mesa, AZ received a $136.9 million modification to a firm-fixed-price contract “for procurement of war replacement AH-64D Apache Longbow aircraft.” Work will be performed in Mesa, AZ and is expected to be complete by April 10/11. This was a sole source contract initiated on Jan 31/07 by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W58RGZ-05-C-0274).
Just before this contract was announced, a pair of Apaches were lost in Iraq. The causes were reported as 12.7mm machine gun fire and an SA-7 Strela man-portable missile.
Nov 1/06: A $152 million modification to a firm-fixed-price contract for war replacement AH-64D Apache Longbow Aircraft. Work will be performed in Mesa, AZ and is expected to be complete by Nov 30/09. This was a sole source contract initiated on July 19/06 (W58RGZ-05-C-0274).
May 31/06: A $40.9 million modification to a firm-fixed-price contract for AH-64D Apache Longbow aircraft. Work will be performed in Mesa, AZ and is expected to be complete by Oct 31/08. This was a sole source contract initiated on Oct 31/05 (W58RGZ-05-C-0274).
Sept 26/05: A $5.9 million firm-fixed-price contract for AH-64D Apache Longbow aircraft. Work will be performed in Mesa, AZ and is expected to be complete by Oct 31/07. This was a sole source contract initiated on June 2/05 (W58RGZ-05-C-0274).
The AH-64’s Future
With the cancellation of the RAH-66 Comanche next-generation attack/scout helicopter in 2001, the US Army was forced to reconsider its plans for the AH-64 Apache. Instead of the Comanche, it will field the AH-64D Block III Apache, with capabilities that include improved communications, the ability to take feeds from or even control UAV drones in their area, enhanced engines and drive systems, a new composite rotor blade, and extended sensor range.
AH-64D Block III deliveries are currently scheduled to begin in 2011, under yet another remanufacturing program. This program is currently slated to begin by updating the 284 AH-64D Block 1 helicopters via a second remanufacturing process. If all goes well and no further versions are called for, they would remanufacture the Block II fleet to AH-64D Block III standard by 2020.
There are reports that the remaining 100 or so AH-64A attack helicopters in the Army’s fleet will be offered to foreign buyers, most of whom are likely to order AH-64D remanufacturing upgrades of their own.
Additional Readings & Sources
DID thanks Boeing’s AH-64D WRA Program Manager Travis Williams, and others at Boeing, who helped to put these purchases in context.
* DID – Boeing Remanufactures AH-64A Apaches to AH-64D Block II. This will also be the new-build WRA standard.