AH-64E Apache Block III: Evolving Battlefield Roles
January 23/18: Taiwan-Operational Units Following a series of rigorous operational testing and evaluation, the Taiwanese Army’s 601st Brigade is expected to enter its second AH-64E Apache unit into service later this year, an anonymous officer has told local media. Based on the island’s north-western Taoyuan district, the command’s 601st Brigade has been training personnel and upgrading its equipment since 2013, with the first Apache unit formally commissioned in June 2017 under the Second Apache Combat Squadron. 30 E-model Apaches were delivered to the 601st Brigade between November 2013 and October 2014, however, one was lost in a crash during a training flight in April 2014.
The AH-64 Apache will remain the US Army’s primary armed helicopter for several more decades, thanks to the collapse of the RAH-66 Comanche program, and the retirement sans replacement of the US Army’s Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH). Apaches also serve with a number of American allies, some of whom have already expressed interest in upgrading or expanding their fleets.
The AH-64E Guardian Block III (AB3) is the helicopter’s next big step forward. It incorporates 26 key new-technology insertions that cover flight performance, maintenance costs, sensors & electronics, and even the ability to control UAVs as part of manned-unmanned teaming (MUT). In July 2006, Boeing and U.S. Army officials signed the initial development contract for Block III upgrades to the current and future Apache fleet, via a virtual signing ceremony. By November 2011, the 1st production helicopter had been delivered. So… how many helicopters will be modified under the AH-64 Block III program, what do these modifications include, how is the program structured, and what has been happening since that 2006 award? The short answer is: a lot, including export interest and sales.
The AH-64 Apache Program: Sunset, Sunrise
The AH-64E Apache Guardian
Contracts and Key Events
FY 2016 – 2018
FY 2008 – 2010
FY 2007 and Earlier
Appendix A: Apache’s (Re) Production History
Background: AH-64 Apache
Background: Ancillary Equipment
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