The Apache Helicopters Project Office accepted the 300th AH-64E Guardian helicopter on Sept. 11, from the Boeing Company. It will be assigned to 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, Fort Bragg, N.C., which is the 10th aviation unit to field the aircraft. The first AH-64E was fielded in January 2013 to the 1st Battalion, 229th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. and the helicopters achieved initial operating capability in November, 2013.
The AH-64E is the current evolution of the Apache. It is designed and equipped with an open systems architecture including the latest communications, navigation, sensor and weapon systems. The E-model has multiple upgrades from its predecessors such as the improved Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision System, which includes a new integrated infrared laser that allows for easier target designation and enhanced infrared imagery capabilities. It's Fire Control Radar has been updated with the ability to operate in a maritime mode, enabling the Apache to operate in all environments. Guardian crewmembers have the ability to receive Unmanned Aerial Systems video in the Apache cockpit, control UAS sensors and direct the flight path of the UAS. The crewmembers are also able to share real-time situational awareness of the operational environment and enemy forces to Soldiers on the ground. With the improved situational awareness, flight performance, and joint interoperability, the AH-64E has become the most advanced helicopter in the world.
Today, the Army's attack helicopter fleet consists of a mixture of AH-64D and AH-64E model aircraft. The AH-64E is produced from rebuilding and upgrading AH-64D helicopters with new avionics, engines and other improvements. Returning aircraft back to the production facility for remanufacture and upgrade of existing aircraft is the primary Apache fleet sustainment strategy. A few, new AH-64E helicopters will be built by Boeing.
The Apache Helicopters Project Office's mission is "to develop, produce, field and sustain the world's premier attack/reconnaissance helicopter and support all those who use it." It is a one of Program Executive Office for Aviation's subordinate project offices and is located at Redstone Arsenal, Ala.
PEO Aviation is the Army manager for 10 project offices including: Apache Helicopters, Aviation Mission Systems & Architecture, Cargo Helicopters, Utility Helicopters, Improved Turbine Engine, Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft, Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Fixed Wing Aircraft and Multinational Aviation Special Projects. The organization's primary responsibility is to serve Soldiers and the nation by designing, developing, delivering and supporting advanced aviation capabilities for operational commanders and our allies.