New Apache Program on Schedule in Spite of COVID-19, Army Says


Despite COVID-19 restrictions, the Army’s new AH-64E Apache V6 program is finding ways to get things done.

The Program Executive Office (PEO) Aviation’s Apache Attack Helicopter Project Management Office (PM Apache) plans to deliver the first production aircraft to the Tigersharks of the 1-229th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, in October, according to an Aug. 18 release.

The PM Apache New Equipment Training Team (NETT) graduated the battalion’s first 10 aviators to be qualified on the aircraft July 24..

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“Technically, we haven’t started fielding aircraft to 1-229th,” Steve Tibaldo, product support manager of Apache Production & Fielding, said in the release. “In order to facilitate the NETT, we sent four of our former test aircraft AH-64E V6 to JBLM. These aircraft were upgraded to V6 from a V4 configuration in order to perform all required testing and Follow-On Test and Evaluation II.”

The move gave the battalion a head start, he said, adding that they “can now fly to the Boeing Plant in Mesa [Arizona]) and pick up the aircraft themselves.”

The battalion is scheduled to receive a total of 24 of the new helos by March 2021.

The newest AH-64E aircraft is designed and equipped with an open systems architecture to incorporate the latest communications, navigation, sensor and weapon systems, and has been upgraded with the improved Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision System (MTADS/PNVS). The E-model supports Brigade Combat Teams across the full spectrum of warfare by destroying armor, personnel and materiel targets, according to the service.

“The new version of the Apache helicopter will provide the Bayonet Division and I Corps with a more lethal, intelligent and survivable platform to help the team destroy the enemy,” Lt. Col. Kevin Easter, I-229th commander, said in the release. “The sensor suite upgrades provide increased range and lethality. The improvements to the battalion’s tactical navigation, combined with the Cognitive Decision Aiding System, will better assist them in maneuvering to the target and destroying it.”

Story continues

The 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, out of Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia, and the 4th Aerial Reconnaissance Battalion (Attack), the 2nd Aviation Regiment, at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, are scheduled to receive the new helicopter next, the release states.

— Bing Xiao can be reached at [email protected].

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