Boeing performed the inaugural flight of the updated version of the AH-64E Apache attack and reconnaissance helicopter.
The updated version features new software and pilot interface, following a request from the US Department of Defense issued in December 2021.
According to Boeing, the AH-64E Apache has undergone improvements in items such as optimized route and attack planning, enhanced Link 16 features, integration of an Open Systems Interface.
“We saw our hard work come to life with this first flight,” said Christina Upah, vice president 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.”
“We’re very excited about the ongoing development of the V6.5 software as it paves the way for Apache modernization,” Col. John (Jay) Maher, U.S. Army Apache project manager, 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.”
Known internally as version 6.5 or V6.5, the new configuration will also include the new General Electric Aerospace T901 engine, replacing the T700.
The new engine will be more powerful, have greater range and are fuel efficient. Boeing also states that there will be improvements in relation to monitoring engine operation.
The US Army has an order for 123 AH-64E helicopters.