REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala., 18 March 2012.Military helicopter experts at the Boeing Co. Defense, Space & Security segment in Mesa, Ariz., are moving forward with the Apache Block III attack helicopter program with a $187 million contract Friday from the U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., for development, integration and testing requirements on the Apache Block III program.
The Boeing AH-64D Longbow Block III is the latest version of the venerable 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.
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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 Apache Block III 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.
Overall, the Army plans to buy 690 Block III Apaches between now and 2026. Most of these will be re-manufactured aircraft and some will be new helicopters manufactured at the Boeing factory in Mesa, Ariz. On the current contract, Boeing will do the work in Mesa, Ariz., and should be finished by mid-2014.
For more information contact Boeing Defense, Space & Security online at www.boeing.com/bds, or the Army Contracting Command at www.army.mil/info/organization/unitsandcommands/commandstructure/acc