Despite the outbreak of COVID-19, Boeing Defense is continuing to produce, flight test and deliver AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters to customers, and has handed over the 500th example of the type.
The company delivered its first AH-64E in 2011 and the type has since seen operational combat service and assisted peacekeeping efforts. In comparison with its predecessor variants, the Apache Guardian offers enhanced performance, joint digital interoperability, improved situational awareness and survivability, along with reduced operational and support costs.
The AH-64E is in operational service with India, Indonesia, Qatar, Taiwan (Republic of China), Saudi Arabia, South Korea and the US. The aircraft has also been sought by Bangladesh, Egypt, Morocco, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates and the UK.
The UK now has all 50 planned AH-64E Apaches under contract, having previously committed to remanufacturing 38 older WAH-64D Apache AH1 attack helicopters. The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that the remaining 12 are now formally included in the programme, after the US Department of Defense issued a contract notification for support and training “for the United Kingdom AH-64E Apache helicopter fleet of 50 aircraft”.
In May 2017 a US$488.1m Foreign Military Sales (FMS) modification contract was placed with Boeing for the remanufacture of 38 WAH-64Ds as part of a wider Lot 7-11 production run, plus procurement of three Longbow crew trainers and associated spares. Work was to be completed at Mesa, Arizona, by May 31, 2024. By June last year, 16 Apache AH1s had been delivered to Mesa for the AH-64E remanufacture programme. They will combine new airframes, engines, rotor blades, and avionics with high-value components recovered from the legacy Apache AH1 inventory. These include the fire-control radar mast-mounted assembly, the Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS), the main rotor hub and other transmission elements, and some structural components.
The final 12 Apache AH1s for remanufacture are covered by a US$565.5m FMS modification contract issued last December 18 which specifies rework of 47 aircraft for the Netherlands, United Arab Emirates and UK. The estimated completion date is March 1, 2025.