Apache on top of attack competition pack
The Indian Government is expected shortly to officially declare Boeing AH-64D Apache Block III the winner in the IAF’s 22 attack helicopter competition, beating out the Russian Mi-28NE Night Hunter. A formal $1.3 billion contract will be announced shortly, sources say. The decision comes at a time when Boeing and Team Apache suppliers worldwide are welcoming a new milestone for the US Army AH-64 Apache helicopter fleet that has just surpassed 3.5 million flight hours. The Army’s aviation programme office said that the milestone of endurance and reliability was reached in June as Apache crews flew combat missions in Afghanistan, participated in exercises in South Korea, and trained with the new AH-64D Apache Block III—the variant that was fielded in the Indian competition. “Achieving and surpassing 3.5 million flight hours is a very significant milestone for the Apache, and I am incredibly proud of the soldiers who fly and maintain this helicopter,” said Col. Jeff Hager, Apache project manager for the US Army. “I am also pleased for the opportunity to work with dedicated and diligent men and women in government service and industry who design, build and continue to modernise an aircraft that delivers proven capabilities and cutting-edge technologies.” Boeing assembles Apaches at its facility in Mesa. Since the first production aircraft was delivered two months ahead of contract schedule in September 1983, Apaches have effectively fulfilled the demands of battlefield commanders. The newest and most advanced Apache, the AH-64D Apache Block III, features composite main rotor blades, a composite stabilator, 701D engines with an enhanced digital electronic control unit, and an improved drive system that enhances the rotorcraft’s performance.