AH-64E Apache Block III: Evolving Battlefield Roles
July 15/16: Boeing and MBDA have conducted successful life-fire testing of the Brimstone missile on the AH-64E attack helicopter. Funded by the UK MoD, the nine month integration project saw both companies collaborate on a leased AH-64E from the Pentagon. The weapon’s Semi-Active Laser (SAL), Dual Mode SAL/millimetric wave (mmW) and fully autonomous mmW guidance modes were tested while the helicopter was hovering, moving and maneuvering/banking.
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)