First flight of Apache V6.5

In the beginning of October, Boeing informed about the successful maiden flight of the newest version of well-known Apache attack helicopter. The latest variant of the AH-64E, designated Version 6.5 (or just V6.5), includes several software updates to enhance its combat capabilities and improve pilot´s interface.

As described in the official press release of the Boeing company, the improvements of the V6.5 include optimized route and attack planning, enhanced Link 16 features, as well as integration of an Open Systems Interface in order to set the stage for Modular Open Systems Approach for maximum interoperability, faster integration and advanced capabilities fielding.

´We’re very excited about the ongoing development of the V6.5 software as it paves the way for Apache modernization´, Col. John (Jay) Maher, US Army Apache project manager, said. ´V6.5 aligns the entire E model fleet under the same software, streamlining training and maintenance while providing a pathway for sensor/capability parity, and enables the Army to address mandates and critical technologies. Ensuring relevance into the future is a top priority´.

Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian from the 3rd Squadron of the 17th Cavalry Regiment of the US Army

The Boeing company was awarded the V6.5 contract by the US Department of Defense in December of 2021. Since then, the manufacturer is developing the enhanced variant of that attack rotorcraft, aiming for achieving next level in terms of the Apache capabilities and to ensure the helicopter continues to dominate future battlefields.

As part of the V6.5 programme, Boeing is also working with the US Army to integrate Improved Turbine Engine with the Apache helicopter. According to official statement, the engine – Aerospace T901 made by General Electric – offers improvements in reach, available power, time on station and fuel efficiency, as well as sustainment improvements like health and usage monitoring, maintenance and engine lifespan.

The Boeing AH-64 Apache was introduced into operational service in April of 1986. Until today, there were almost 2,500 examples of that rotorcraft manufactured. Nowadays, different variants of the Apache are operated by approximately fifteen armed forces in the world. Among its future customers there are Morocco and, probably, Poland.

Cover photo: Boeing AH-64E V6.5 © Boeing. Information from the Boeing Company press releases were used.