British Army, November 27, 2020 - The first two new Apache Attack Helicopters (AH-64E variant) have been delivered to the British Army from the US Government.
They arrived at Wattisham Flying Station on 26 Nov 20 with Aviation Technicians from 7 Aviation Support Battalion, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (7 Avn Spt Bn REME), who will maintain and service the new aircraft.
A fleet of AH-64E Version 6 aircraft, the most advanced variant of Apache, have been procured from the United States to replace the Apache AH Mark 1, which reaches its Out of Service Date in 2024.
These Boeing built new aircraft will enable the UK to maintain its battle-winning Attack Helicopter capability for decades to come thanks to its improved digital capability. The new aircraft is already in service with the US Army and other defence forces and has been designed and equipped to offer common configuration.
First UK flying is anticipated to commence in July 2021. Initially, this will be focussed on trials activity and then on developing instructional techniques to safely manage aircrew transition from Mark 1 to E-model. The focus will then change to the full rate conversion training of 3 Regiment Army Air Corps (3AAC).
Prior to commencement of flying, the full Air System Safety Case will be rigorously tested to ensure it can support safe flying. This will include Quality Assurance and airworthiness tasks by 7 Bn, plus certification by the UK Military Aviation Authority, assurance of aircraft documentation, simulators, training and instructors.
AH-64E will deliver a significant enhancement to the UK's 1st Aviation Brigade.
The UK has strived to make the aircraft best value for money by utilising a large amount of parts from the Apache Mark 1, which reduces production costs and aims to be more environmentally sustainable. Plus, the new aircraft will be easier to maintain and more reliable, so that it will be more straightforward to sustain in any operational environment.
Maj Gen Jez Bennett, Director Capability, said: “The arrival of the first Apache E Model Attack Helicopter to be delivered to the British Army over the next two years marks the beginning of a significant uplift in capability to enhance the Army’s contribution across the spectrum of military operations.
“From supporting hostage rescue missions, to countering an adversaries’ anti-access, area denial platforms, the Apache E outstrips the outgoing Mark 1 aircraft by increased platform digitalisation, improved weapons and avionics, and the ability to use the latest and future technology to enable teaming with semi-autonomous systems such as UASs.”
Air Commodore Owen Barnes, DE&S Boeing helicopters portfolio manager, said: “DE&S is delighted to have brought the Apache Capability Sustainment Programme to this significant milestone. It represents the continued dedication and hard work of the team, in close collaboration with our Army customer, to deliver the best capability to our armed forces.”