Boeing’s upgraded AH-64 Apache attack helicopter completes first flight
Boeing has announced the successful maiden flight of the latest version of the AH-64E Apache, known as Version 6.5 (V6.5).
The company said that the new upgraded configuration represented a vital step in modernising the attack helicopter.
‘We saw our hard work come to life with this first flight,’ said Christina Upah, VP of Attack Helicopter Programs and senior Boeing Mesa site executive. ‘These enhancements will take the E-model Apache to the next level in terms of capabilities, ensuring Apaches continue to dominate future battlefields.’
The V6.5 effort, awarded by the US DoD in December 2021, introduced a suite of software updates designed to enhance the AH-64’s capabilities and improve the pilot interface. Enhancements within the new version include optimised route and attack planning, enhanced Link 16 features and open systems interface integration.
US Army Apache project manager Col John Maher said: ‘V6.5 aligns the entire E-model fleet under the same software, streamlining training and maintenance while providing a pathway for sensor/capability parity and enabling the army to address mandates and critical technologies. Ensuring relevance into the future is a top priority.’
Boeing has been working with the US Army to integrate the new engine developed under the Improved Turbine Engine programme (ITEP).
The new engine, which will power the US Army’s future attack helicopters and all UH-60 Black Hawks as well, would enhance the army’s aircraft fleet by improving fuel efficiency, extending range and loiter time, and reducing fuel consumption. Additionally, it will aim to restore high hot operational capability.
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