AH-64E Apache Block III: Evolving Battlefield Roles
July 19/18: Brigade for Taiwan Jane’s reports that the Taiwan Defense Forces have now a full air brigade of Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters. The 29 helicopters are part of the 601st Air Cavalry Brigade, which operates out of Taoyuan’s Longtan District in northern Taiwan. The AH-64A/D Apache has become a dominant attack helicopter around the globe. The gunships are armed with a 30mm chain gun and can be equipped with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, Hydra-70 2.75-inch rocket pods and AIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missiles. Taiwan purchased 30 Boeing Apache helicopters from the United States in 2008 for $1.94 billion and took delivery of the final batch in October 2014. One of the helicopters was badly damaged in a training accident 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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