Boeing delivers 2,500th AH-64 Apache

A major milestone has been passed in the production and delivery of the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter as Boeing recently handed over the 2,500th example.

On September 30, 1983, the first production AH-64A Apache rolled off the assembly line and was delivered to the US Army by McDonnell Douglas – which is now a Boeing heritage company – in January 1984.

The platform is still being manufactured today and the 2,500th aircraft – an AH-64E Apache Guardian – was delivered to the US Army from Boeing’s production line in Mesa, Arizona.

AH-64E Apache Guardian [US Army/Sgt Steven Galimore] #1
An AH-64E Apache Guardian - assigned to the US Army's 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade - prepares to land and refuel during training in 2017. US Army/Sgt Steven Galimore

Kathleen Jolivette, vice president of Attack Helicopter programmes and senior site executive at Boeing’s Mesa facility, said: “The Apache has built an impressive legacy of success, and is well-positioned to bring relevant technologies and capabilities that [defence] forces require today and in the future.

“Company teammates and suppliers worldwide are focused on assembling, delivering and supporting US and global customers, working to deter aggression and defend freedom. Apache is ready to have a key role in the future of multi-domain operations,” Jolivette added.

The latest model of the Apache family, the AH-64E, employs modern integrated technologies – including communications and navigation systems – that enhance situational awareness and coordination. Boeing adds that the platform features “a new, faster multi-core mission processor for advanced systems integration; and [a] maritime capability in the Fire Control Radar for watercraft detection and identification, along with a shorter engagement timeline.”

AH-64E Apache Guardian [US Army/CWO3 Mark Leung] #1
A US Army-operated AH-64E Apache Guardian lands on the flight deck of the USS Peleliu (LHA 5) amphibious assault ship during the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise in 2014. US Army/CWO3 Mark Leung

It incorporates an improved drive system with split-torque face gear transmission and is powered by two GE Aviation T700-701D turboshaft engines and composite main rotor blades, giving the aircraft a maximum cruising speed of 176mph (284km/h). In terms of munitions, the AH-64E can be equipped with AGM-114 Hellfire laser-guided air-to-surface missiles, 70mm rockets and has a 30mm automatic cannon under the forward fuselage.

AirForces Intelligence data shows that Apaches across a number of variants are currently in operational military service with 16 nations. This extensive list comprises Egypt, Greece, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Qatar, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Singapore, the UAE, the UK and the US. The type has also been ordered by Morocco and is in competition with the Bell AH-1Z Viper for selection by the Philippines. It has also been reportedly selected by Bangladesh to fulfil its attack helicopter requirements, but an official acquisition request has yet to be placed.