Boeing has recently delivered the 500th AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter, the company announced in a statement on April 16.
The company said that the production, flight test and deliveries of the AH-64E Apache helicopter is continuing at the Boeing site in Mesa, Arizona despite the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.
With 500 AH-64E Apaches in service with the United States Army and defense forces around the world, the ‘Echo’ model provides enhanced performance; joint digital interoperability; situational awareness and survivability with reduced operational and support costs.
First delivered in 2011, the AH-64E has been used in combat operations and peacekeeping efforts.
“Planned modernization of this multi-role combat helicopter ensures it is ready to fulfill operational requirements globally”, said the statement.
AH-64E Apache Guardian
The AH-64E Guardian, formerly known as AH-64D Block III, is the latest variant of the AH-64 Apache four-blade, twin-turboshaft attack helicopter developed by the American company, Boeing. Apache is considered as one of the world’s most advanced multi-role combat helicopter.
Compared to the earlier versions, the AH-64E features improved digital connectivity, the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTDS), more powerful T700-GE-701D turboshaft engines with upgraded face gear transmission to accommodate more power, the capability to control unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), full Instrument flight rules (IFR) capability, and improved landing gear.
The Apache Guardian is armed with an M230 30mm automatic chain gun carried between the forward-positioned main landing gears. It has four hardpoints mounted on stub-wing pylons, capable of carrying a mixture of Hellfire II air-to-ground missiles (AGM), Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems (APKWS) II guided rocket pods, 2.75 in. Hydra rocket pods and FIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missiles (AAM).
The helicopter features a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems and can also be equipped with the AN/APG-78 Longbow millimeter-wave fire-control radar (FCR), housed in a dome located above the main rotor.
Boeing has delivered more than 2,200 Apaches, across the variants, to customers around the world since the aircraft entered production with the primary customer being the U.S. Army. The U.S. Army Apache fleet has accumulated (as of July 2016) more than 4.2 million flight hours since the first AH-64A was delivered to the U.S. Army in January 1984.