Updated: March 31, 2022
The Apache AH-64D/E is the Army’s attack helicopter. It is capable of destroying armor, personnel, and materiel targets in obscured battlefield conditions. The Apache is a twin-engine, four-blade tandem-seat attack helicopter equipped with an M230 30-mm cannon, Hydra-70 2.75-inch rockets, and HELLFIRE missiles (both laser-guided and radio frequency). The current Army Aviation fleet contains both AH-64D Longbow Apaches and AH-64E models. The Apache is fielded to both Active Army and Army National Guard armed reconnaissance battalions and cavalry units. The aircraft is designed to support Brigade Combat Teams across the full spectrum of warfare.
The AH-64E program is the most current evolution of the Apache. It is designed and equipped with an open systems architecture to incorporate the latest communications, navigation, sensor, and weapon systems. The E-model has multiple upgrades from its predecessors, such as the improved Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision System (MTADS/PNVS). This system includes a new integrated infrared laser that allows for easier target designation and enhanced infrared imagery that blends infrared and night vision capabilities. The E-model also has an updated Small Tactical Terminal radio that includes the LINK 16 capability required to communicate in a joint environment. The updated Fire Control Radar can operate in a maritime mode, enabling the Apache to be an integral asset in most environments. The E-model fleet’s Manned-Unmanned Teaming ability provides Level of Interoperability 4 to Apache crews, providing the ability to receive Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) video in the Apache cockpit, control UAS sensors, and direct the flight path of the UAS.
The aircraft is also undergoing further modernization modifications such as the Modernized Day Sensor Assembly. This upgrade eliminates obsolescence issues while enhancing day-sight capabilities equivalent to the changes made with MTADS/PNVS. Other modifications include Manned-Unmanned Teaming that provides non-line-of-sight communications, video transmission/reception, and maintenance cost reductions.
The Apache is provided to U.S. allies through a robust Foreign Military Sales program with more than 500 Apache currently in operation or development across 16 partner nations. The current acquisition objective is 812 aircraft.
BENEFIT TO THE SOLDIER
The Apache provides security to ground forces, fixed based operations, and aerial escorts; conducts reconnaissance to provide situational awareness to ground forces and higher headquarters; and decisively engages single or multiple enemy combatants to allow freedom of maneuver or protection. It maneuvers into enemy territory to conduct deep attacks on strategic targets to set the conditions for favorable ground commander operations. With the Manned-Unmanned Teaming capability, the AH-64 can send real-time situational awareness of the environment and enemy forces to Soldiers in contact.
- Designed and equipped with a Modular Open Systems Approach to incorporate the latest communications, navigation, sensor, and weapon systems
- Combat mission speed: AH-64D 145 knots (max speed); AH-64E 164 knots (max speed)
- Combat range: 260 nautical miles
- Combat endurance: 2.5 hours
- Maximum gross weight: 20,260 pounds
- 16 HELLFIRE missiles
- 76 2.75-inch rockets
- 1,200 30-mm chain gun rounds
- Crew: Two (pilot and copilot gunner)
- Rate of Fire: 600 – 650 rounds per minute
- 3QFY18: Department of Army G-8 memo adjusting Army Procurement Objective from 767 to 812 and Army Acquisition Objective of 791 for the AH-64E Apache Helicopter
- 3QFY19: Follow-on Test and Evaluation 2
- 4QFY20: V6 Longbow Crew Trainer fielding
- 1QFY21: V6 Fielding begins