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Boeing Enhanced AH-64E Apache First Flight

Enhanced AH-64E Apache V6.5 first flight press release image [© Boeing: Mike Goettings]

Boeing’s Enhanced AH-64E Apache completes first flight ~ Version 6.5 offers upgraded connectivity, lethality, navigation and survivability capabilities.

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Press Release, Mesa AZ, 11 October 2023: The newest version of the AH-64E Apache has successfully flown with an upgraded capabilities suite as Boeing continues to modernise the platform. The upgraded E-model Apache, known as Version 6.5, or V6.5, is the next configuration of the world’s premier attack helicopter.

“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.”

V6.5, awarded by the US Department of Defense in December 2021, includes software updates enhancing capabilities and improving the pilot interface. Some of those enhancements include:

  • Optimised route and attack planning
  • Enhanced Link 16 features
  • Integration of an Open Systems Interface, setting the stage for Modular Open Systems Approach for maximum interoperability, faster integration and advanced capabilities fielding.

“We’re very excited about the ongoing development of the V6.5 software as it paves the way for Apache modernisation,” Col. John (Jay) Maher, US 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.”

Building onto V6.5, the company is working with the US Army to integrate the Improved Turbine Engine (ITE). The engine, a General Electric Aerospace T901, will offer improvements in reach, available power, time on station and fuel efficiency, as well as sustainment improvements like health and usage monitoring, maintenance and engine lifespan.

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