AH-64E order Monday brings Army two-week helicopter shopping spree to about $1.5 billion

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala., 22 March 2016. U.S. Army aviation experts continued their military helicopter-buying spree on Monday with a $184.9 million order for an undisclosed number of AH-64E Guardian attack helicopters from the Boeing Co.

AH-64E order Monday brings Army two-week helicopter shopping spree to about $1.5 billion
AH-64E order Monday brings Army two-week helicopter shopping spree to about $1.5 billion
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala., 22 March 2016. U.S. Army aviation experts continued their military helicopter-buying spree on Monday with a $184.9 million order for an undisclosed number of AH-64E Guardian attack helicopters from the Boeing Co.

Officials of the Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., are asking the Boeing Defense, Space & Security segment in Mesa, Ariz., for Apache helicopter full-rate production lot 7. One Apache helicopter production lot consists of about 24 helicopters.

The Army has been on a big helicopter-buying spree this month. The buying started on 8 March with a $387.2 million order to Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, in Stratford, Conn., to build 35 UH-60M military utility helicopters.

Rotorcraft buying continued again on 15 March when the Army ordered 12 new and 27 rebuilt Boeing CH-47F Chinook twin-rotor multi-mission, heavy-lift transport helicopters in an $896.9 million contract as part of Chinook production lot 14.

Related: Army asks Boeing to build 39 new and rebuilt CH-47 helicopters in $896.9 million order

Monday's AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter contract brings the Army helicopter buying total for this month to about $1.5 billion in a span of just two weeks.

The AH-64 Apache is a multirole combat helicopter with integrated avionics and weapons, as well as advanced digital communications to enable real-time, secure transfer of battlefield information to air and ground forces.

The E-model Apache Guardian features enhanced performance, joint digital operability, improved survivability and cognitive decision aiding, and reduced operating and support costs, Boeing officials say. The AH-64E Apache is being delivered to the U.S. Army and has been selected by several international defense forces.

Formerly known as AH-64D Block III, the AH-64E Guardian has improved digital connectivity, the joint tactical radio system (JTRS), more powerful T700-GE-701D engines with upgraded transmission to accommodate more power, capability to control unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), new composite rotor blades, instrument flight rules (IFR) capability, and improved landing gear.

Related: Army places $387.2 million order with Sikorsky to build 35 new UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters

The AH-64E will have self-diagnostic abilities, Link-16 data linking, and updated Longbow radar with oversea capacity that could enable naval strikes.

One of the most important military avionics systems on the AH-64E Guardian is the Arrowhead Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS) advanced electro-optical fire control system that Guardian pilots use for targeting and pilotage in day, night and bad weather.

The Arrowhead system from Lockheed Martin Corp. provides increased standoff ranging for U.S. Forces while providing aircrews with greater resolution for pilotage, targeting, and enhancing situational awareness.

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