AH-64E Apache Block III: Evolving Battlefield Roles
October 8/18: UAE The government of the United Arab Emirates is ordering more attack helicopters for its armed forces. Boeing will provide the Middle-Eastern country with a total of 17 Apache AH-64E aircraft. The $242.1 million contract modification covers the remanufacture of eight, and the production of nine newly build Apaches by Boeing. The AH-64E Guardian Block III is the platform’s next big-leap forward. The upgraded attack helicopter incorporates 26 key new-technology insertions which keep his 1980s airframe at the leading edge of technology. Work will be performed at Boeing’s factory in Mesa, Arizona. Production of the aircraft is estimated to be completed by February 28, 2023.
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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