• July 23, 2024

Boeing’s Modernized Apache Concept: Paving the Way for the Next Generation of AH-64 Attack Helicopters

The Boeing Modernized Apache Concept represents the next step in the evolution of the existing AH-64E V6 attack helicopter. It features a longer wing with three hard points per wing and serves as a concept helicopter created by Boeing.

The modernized Apache, which is being marketed as the next evolution of the currently used AH-64E V6 attack helicopter, can be distinguished from the traditional Apache by its longer wing, which is an external feature.

As was first noted by Alert 5, Boeing made the most of the opportunity afforded to it during AUSA 2022 to present its concept for a modernized Apache to senior leaders of the United States Army.

Touting it as the next evolution of the current AH-64E v6 attack helicopter, the Modernized Apache can be differentiated externally from the classic Apache by its longer wing, which allows it to have three hard points per wing, upward-facing engine exhaust, and the substitution of the chain gun with a laser turret.

Boeing claims that the Apache will continue to be used by the Army for decades to come as part of the service’s aviation forces.

 

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The Apache needs to be optimized to complement the next-generation platforms in the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) ecosystem, which Boeing recognizes is essential if the Army is to maintain rotorcraft dominance in future Multi-Domain Operations (MDO). In addition, we think it’s everyone’s responsibility to come up with the best ideas and innovative solutions to quickly and affordably address the evolving needs of our armed forces.

And so, Boeing is proud and excited to introduce the Modernized Apache, a dominant, affordable concept built on the combat-proven Apache platform that represents the next evolution of the current AH-64E V6.

Improved maneuverability, interoperability, lethality, survivability, and range are just some of the ways in which the “Modernized Apache Concept” can help the Army meet its growing attack and reconnaissance needs. Further, it makes use of, safeguards, and keeps intact the developed, global industrial base already in place to support future Apache engineering, manufacturing, development, and production.

 

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The Modernized Apache will embrace and integrate cutting-edge technology to continue delivering options and tools needed to support Soldiers on the ground, allowing the Army to operate, fight, and win on the future MDO battlefield.

The Apache’s transformation into the Modernized Concept is based on the following updates, which together serve as a road map for the future of the species.

drivetrain upgrades for the Improved Turbine Engine (ITE) power, range, efficiency, and speed; advanced mission systems to increase network interoperability and reduce pilot cognitive strain and workload;
advanced sensors and sensor fusion to improve connectivity across domains and operations in all environments;
airborne long-range precision munitions; airborne launched effects (ALE); future integration of directed energy weapons for increased lethality;
advanced sustainment through a capable, lower-cost airframe; affordable remanufacturing;
and minimized procurement costs.

 

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The Apache AH-64 was developed to be an exceptionally resilient fighter. The YAH-64, the prototype Apache, flew for the first time in 1975, and Hughes received a full-scale development contract the following year. The AH-64A Apache, as the program is now known, was given the green light by the Army in 1982. When Hughes Helicopters merged with McDonnell Douglas in 1984, production at the Mesa, Arizona, facility began.

 

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The combat-proven Apache helicopter is the backbone of the United States Army’s all-weather, ground-support capability due to its high degree of maneuverability and heavy weaponry. The AH-64D Apache Longbow, a prototype of which made its maiden flight on May 14, 1992, represented a significant improvement over its predecessor, the AH-64A. Fire-control radar and an advanced avionics suite in the Apache Longbow allowed combat pilots to quickly detect, classify, prioritize, and engage stationary or moving enemy targets at standoff ranges in nearly all weather conditions. The Apache software also has an export version for use in other countries.

 

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The Army took delivery of the first “Block II” Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow in 2003. Updates to the avionics, digital features, and communications systems were all a part of the Block II model.

The United States Army’s first AH-64D Apache Block III Multirole Attack Helicopter was delivered by Boeing in 2011. Block III improved flight performance and enabled more effective networked communications. The AH-64E Apache “Guardian,” formerly known as the AH-64D Apache Block III, received its new name in 2012.

From the original AH-64A in 1984 to the latest AH-64E v6 today, the Apache has made tremendous strides, consistently outperforming its predecessors and expanding the platform’s potential in new ways. In addition to being a highly effective platform for attack and reconnaissance, the Apache has also been shown to be extremely lethal.

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