MESA, Ariz., 30 May 2012. The Boeing Co. Defense, Space & Security segment in Mesa, Ariz. will be producing Apache AH-64D attack helicopters for the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program in a $97.3 million dollar contract awarded by the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, Ala. on Tuesday.
The Boeing AH-64D Longbow Block III is the latest version of the Apache combat helicopter, and is designed with a stronger engine, improved helicopter avionics, better computer-networking capability, and increased maneuverability compared to previous versions of the military helicopter.
AH-64D Longbow Block III improvements consist of 25 technology insertions and include avionics improvements such as improved digital connectivity, the joint tactical radio system, VNsight low-light television sensors (LLTV), and the Lockheed Martin-Northrop Grumman Unmanned Aerial Systems Tactical Common Data Link Assembly (UTA) -- a two-way, high-bandwidth data link that enables Apache air crews to control the sensor and flight path of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
The UTA enables Apache crew members to operate UAVs at long ranges and receive real-time, high-definition streaming video on multi-function displays in the Apache fore and aft cockpit to enhance situational awareness and to help Apache crews start planning their missions before the rotorcraft arrive on scene. The UTA will be fielded on the Apache Block III aircraft beginning this year.
The Boeing AH-64D Apache can also be equipped with the WeaponWatch ground-fire acquisition system from Radiance in order to automatically locate and fire upon targets that engage the helicopter from the ground.
The AH-64D is armed with a 30-millimeter chain gun, AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and Hydra 70 rocket pods.
The Block III Apache also has a new radar electronics unit that enhances the aircraft's fire-control radar system and reduces the size, weight, maintenance, and power requirements of the latest Apache attack helicopter.
The AH-64D also has more powerful T700-GE-701D engines to enable the attack helicopter to operate efficiently in high-altitude hot areas like the mountains of Afghanistan. The Apache Block III also has an enhanced transmission with new split-torque face gears, new composite rotor blades, full IFR capability, and improved landing gear.
Work for this contract is expected to be completed by the end of 2017. What countries will be receiving the helicopters has not yet been disclosed.