AH-64E Apache Block III: Evolving Battlefield Roles
June 9/16: Boeing has been awarded a $667 million US Army contract to supply 24 AH-64E Apache helicopters to Qatar. Included in the deal are 1 Longbow crew trainer, ground support equipment, and Thales radios. The deal comes ahead of a planned five-year multi-year contract, which Boeing is hoping to sign in fiscal year 2017. The manufacturer is working with the US Army to accelerate the agreement of such a deal, which would cover the production of 275 aircraft – plus options to ramp up to 450 to support potential export deals – between then and FY2022.
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 2008 – 2010
FY 2007 and Earlier
Appendix A: Apache’s (Re) Production History
Background: AH-64 Apache
Background: Ancillary Equipment
News & Views
Fill in the secure form below to activate your subscription right away (or pick another plan)