AH-64E Apache helicopter. Photo: Spc. Savannah Roy, US Army.
The US Army has announced the AH-64E Apache attack helicopter’s next configuration, Version 6.5, to enhance its warfare survivability.
Upgrades align with the army’s effort to establish a common aviation program software baseline across the Apache E model fleet.
“We’re very excited about the ongoing development of the V6.5 software as it paves the way for Apache modernization including the integration of the ITEP (Improved Turbine Engine Program) engine,” US Army Apache Program Manager Col. Jay Maher said.
Flight Test This Year.
Additional improvements of the Version 6.5 include upgrades in situational awareness, lethality, communication, and navigation.
The upgraded Apache will also feature an open systems interface for the rapid insertion of new technologies and future updates.
Furthermore, Version 6.5’s hardware insertions will support a separate modification work order to retrofit all Version 4 and 6 series Apache Es to the latest configuration.
The 6.5 already achieved all requirements under the US Army’s Systems Readiness and Preliminary Design Review. A flight test for the new version is expected later this year.
Version 6.5’s development program will conclude in 2025, followed by a fielding phase in 2026.
Improved Turbine Engine.
Further tests will take place in 2025 to assess the compatibility of the rotorcraft’s software and hardware upgrades with an improved turbine engine (ITE).
“We look forward to integrating this more capable engine onto the AH-64E and performing the necessary testing so one day we can get this into the hands of our warfighters,” ITE Integration Assistant Project Manager Katie White said.
“The Apache ITE Integration team has done a tremendous job collaborating with the V6.5 team, Aviation Turbine Engines Project Office, Boeing, General Electric and other stakeholders to enable successful integration and qualification activities.”