The most recent iteration of the AH-64E Apache has successfully conducted a flight test with an upgraded suite of capabilities, as Boeing continues its efforts to modernize the platform.
“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.”
This upgraded version, referred to as Version 6.5 or V6.5, represents the next stage in the evolution of the world’s leading attack helicopter. V6.5, which was awarded to Boeing by the U.S. Department of Defense in December 2021, incorporates software updates that enhance its capabilities and improve the pilot interface.
Some of these enhancements include optimized route and attack planning, improved Link 16 features, and the integration of an Open Systems Interface, which lays the foundation for a Modular Open Systems Approach that maximizes interoperability, facilitates faster integration, and enables the deployment of advanced capabilities.
Building upon the V6.5 configuration, Boeing is collaborating with the U.S. Army to integrate the Improved Turbine Engine (ITE). This engine, manufactured by General Electric Aerospace and known as the T901, will offer a range of improvements, including increased reach, enhanced available power, extended time on station, improved fuel efficiency, and various sustainment enhancements such as health and usage monitoring, maintenance optimization, and increased engine lifespan.
“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 enables the Army to address mandates and critical technologies. Ensuring relevance into the future is a top priority.”