AH-64E Apache Block III: Evolving Battlefield Roles
September 4/19: India Eight US made Apache AH-64E attack helicopters joined the Indian Air Force fleet today in Pathankot. This is seen as a very big boost to India’s combat capabilities. A priest performed rituals in front of a helicopter, which was also given a water cannon salute at the Pathankot Air Force Base. India’s Air Force will be receiving 22 Apache AH-64E(I) helicopters in all in a $1.1-billion deal with Boeing. The contract was inked in September 2015. The Apaches are equipped with hellfire missiles and rockets. Each helicopter has the capacity to carry eight such missiles. It also has a canon gun that can fire 1,200 rounds at a time, with which two missile pods carrying 19 missiles each can be fixed.
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 – 2019
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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