Boeing’s upgraded AH-64E Apache makes first flight

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The AH-64E Version 6.5 flew. This improved version of the venerable Apache features software improvements and updates and the integration of an open systems interface.

A modernization of the Apache

The new version of the AH-64E Apache flew successfully. The attack helicopter adopts with a set of improved capabilities, Boeing continuing to modernize the platform, the entry into service of which is not strictly speaking recent since it dates back to 1984. The modernized E model of the Apache, known as Version 6.5, or V6.5, is the next configuration of the attack helicopter. The previous one being version 6, notably sold in the Netherlands.

Version 6.5

V6.5, awarded by the US Department of Defense in December 2021, includes software updates that enhance capabilities and improve the pilot interface. Improvements include optimization of route planning and attacks, enhanced functionality of Link 16. The integration of an open systems interface in turn paves the way for a modular approach to open systems for interoperability maximum, faster integration and implementation of advanced capabilities.

The same software for the entire fleet

“We are very excited about the ongoing development of V6.5 software, which paves the way for Apache modernization,” said Col. John (Jay) Maher, U.S. Army Apache project manager. “V6.5 brings the entire Model E fleet into alignment with the same software, simplifying training and maintenance while paving the way for sensor and capability parity, and enabling the Army to respond to critical mandates and technologies. Ensuring relevance in the future is a top priority,” adds John Maher.

Towards the ITE

Building on V6.5, the company is working with the US military to integrate the Improved Turbine Engine (ITE). This turboshaft engine, the General Electric Aerospace T901, will offer improvements in range, available power, downtime and fuel efficiency, as well as improvements in maintenance, such as health monitoring and use, maintenance and life of the engine.

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