Boeing prepares to build a production lot of AH-64 Apache attack helicopters with sensors and avionics

June 23, 2021
The AH-64 Apache is a multirole combat helicopter with integrated avionics, weapons, and advanced digital communications for battlefield information.

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – Military helicopter designers at the Boeing Co. are preparing to build about two dozen AH-64 Apache attack helicopters for the U.S. Army under terms of a $169.5 million contract announced Monday.

Officials of the Boeing Defense, Space & Security segment in Mesa, Ariz., will provide long lead items for lot 12 of the AH-64 attack helicopter. Long-lead items either are difficult and time-consuming to obtain, and are funded early in the aircraft design process to keep overall production on schedule.

One production lot of the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter consists of about 22 aircraft. Contracts to build the helicopters will come later.

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.

Related: Lockheed Martin to build electro-optical targeting systems for Bahrain, Czech Republic attack helicopters

The E-model Apache Guardian, the latest version of the Apache, 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.

The AH-64E has the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-78 millimeter wave fire-control radar, radar frequency interferometer, fire-and-forget radar-guided Hellfire missile capability, and cockpit management and digitization enhancements.

The combination of the fire-control radar, radar frequency interferometer, and the advanced navigation and avionics suite provides increased situational awareness, lethality, and survivability, Army officials say.

The AH-64E also has the Lockheed Martin Apache Arrowhead Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight (M-TADS) and Pilot Night Vision Sensors (PNVS) systems.

Related: Lockheed Martin to build electronic warfare (EW) system for AH-64E attack helicopter to counter enemy radar

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.

The AH-64E is designed to conduct armed reconnaissance, close combat, mobile strike, and vertical maneuver missions in day, night, obscured-battlefield, and adverse-weather conditions. The helicopter has self-diagnostic abilities, Link-16 data linking, and updated Longbow radar with oversea capacity that could enable naval strikes.

Versions of the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter have been in service with the U.S. Army since 1986. It is a four-blade, twin-engine attack helicopter with a tandem cockpit for a two-man crew.

Related: Sikorsky makes preparations to build nine new CH-53K heavy-lift helicopters and avionics for U.S. Marines

It has a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems. It is armed with a 30-millimeter M230 Chain Gun carried between the main landing gear, under the aircraft's forward fuselage.

It has four hardpoints mounted on stub-wing pylons, typically carrying a mixture of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and rockets. The helicopter was designed to replace the Bell AH-1 Cobra as the Army's primary attack helicopter. The U.S. Marine Corps still operates late-model versions of the AH-1 Cobra.

On this contract Boeing will do the work in Mesa, Ariz., and should be finished by May 2027. For more information contact Boeing Defense, Space & Security online at, or the Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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