AH-64E Apache Block III: Evolving Battlefield Roles
September 19/18: Dutch LOA The Dutch government is set to receive US support for its AH-64D Apache helicopter modernization program. The program was recently given the go-ahead as part of a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) signed by the DSCA and the Dutch State Secretary of Defence. The LOA has a value of $1 billion and includes the training of pilots and the upgrade of 28 Apache ‘D’ helicopters to the ‘E’ variant. The AH-64E ‘Guardian’ attack helicopter is the latest version of the AH-64. It has a number of improvements and upgrades, including more powerful engines, upgraded transmission, a new fire control radar, new sensors, avionics and has improved night operation capabilities.
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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