The helicopters have improved sensors and lethality, upgraded weapons systems and heightened communications compared to their predecessor. They can detect 256 potential targets at once, prioritizing the most urgent threats within seconds, up to a range of 16km (10 miles) away.
Wattisham Flying Station has taken delivery of 14 of the new aircraft, with 36 more due to arrive by the summer of 2024. British Army test flights are underway, with a booster to aerial capability anticipated early next year when they enter operational capability.
UK Defence Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin said: “There can be no doubt these impressive Apache helicopters will help the Army sustain its battle-winning capabilities in future operations.”
Boeing Defence UK signs 20-year agreement
A 20-year agreement has been signed with Boeing Defence UK to maintain and support this new fleet of attack helicopters. The British Army has been utilizing the Apache capability since 2005, with the attack helicopters seeing action in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.
The Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Sir Chris Tickell KBE, said: “I am delighted at the introduction of the 4th generation AH-64E into British Army service, signifying our commitment to investing in the right equipment for our people to compete and win against the threats facing the UK.”
The Long-Term Training and Support Service will progressively take over from the initial support and conversion training provided by the US-Government under Foreign Military Sale interim arrangements.
The replacement of the MK1 with the AH-64E – built by Boeing and already in service with the US Army – was announced in 2016 as part of a US$2.3 billion deal. This new model, which is now being flown in the UK, has improved sensors and avionics as well as greater performance that will enable the army to sustain its battle-winning capabilities in future operations.