Army asks Boeing to build additional AH-64E attack helicopters, avionics, and communications systems

Aug. 14, 2023
The attack fire-control radar, frequency interferometer, navigation, and communications enhances situational awareness, lethality, and survivability.

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – Military helicopter experts at the Boeing Co. will build new AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters for the U.S. Army under terms of a $393.1 million order announced last month.

Officials of the Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., are asking the Boeing Defense, Space & Security segment in Mesa, Ariz., to provide Apache AH-64E aircraft, supporting services, and equipment.

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 AH-64E 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.

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The AH-64E Longbow manufacturing effort involves the Longbow Limited Liability Co. (LBL) joint venture between Northrop Grumman Corp. and Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin provides the Modernized-Radar Frequency Interferometers (MRFI) and the Hellfire missile, which provides fire and forget capabilities. Northrop Grumman provides the AN/APG-78 millimeter wave fire-control radar.

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

This program also installs the Lockheed Martin Apache Arrowhead Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight (M-TADS) and Pilot Night Vision Sensors (PNVS) systems aboard new AH-64E helicopters.

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: Boeing to build additional AH-64E attack helicopters with networked avionics, sensors, and communications

The AH-64E is designed for 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.

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.

Related: Army asks industry for open-systems avionics technologies for future attack and reconnaissance helicopters

The attack helicopter 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.

Boeing began deliveries of the AH-64E model in October 2011. Seven customers outside the U.S. have ordered this variant. The U.S. and 15 other countries have used the Apache during the past three decades.

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