Known as Version 6.5 (V6.5), the upgraded AH-64E represents the next configuration of the gunship, which offers enhanced connectivity and lethality, as well as improved navigation and survivability capabilities via a suite of new software updates that will enhance the platform’s overall abilities and improve the pilot interface. The updates will provide optimised route and attack planning, enhanced Link-16 tactical datalinks, and the integration of an open systems interface, which “sets the stage for a modular open systems approach for maximum interoperability, faster integration and advanced capabilities fielding,” according to Boeing.
The entire AH-64E fleet will be aligned under the same V6.5 software, streamlining training and maintenance and bringing sensor and capability parity fleet-wide. It is claimed this will ensure continued relevance into the future, allowing “Apaches to continue to dominate future battlefields,” according to Christina Upah, Boeing’s vice president of Attack Helicopter Programs and senior Boeing Mesa site executive.
Col John Maher, the US Army’s Apache project manager, said: “We’re very excited about the ongoing development of the V6.5 software, as it paves the way for Apache modernisation.”
Boeing is currently working with the US Army on a programme to integrate the new GE Aviation T901 Improved Turbine Engine as a replacement for the existing T700 powerplant that powers the service’s existing Apaches and UH-60 Black Hawks. The T901 is also the powerplant for the Army’s next-generation Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft and promises greater available power, lower maintenance requirements, longer life and improved fuel efficiency, along with enhanced sustainment, including health and usage monitoring.