The South Carolina National Guard has received the first five AH-64E model Apache attack helicopters, a little over a year after the upgraded helicopter began fielding in the winter of 2021.
The v6 Apaches were delivered to McEntire Joint National Guard Base on March 24.
The South Carolina National Guard is updating a 34-year-old fleet of 24 aircraft with the new E-model, which will be assigned to and flown by the 1-151st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 59th Aviation Troop Command.
The V6 model that was first delivered to the US Army in January 2021 is equipped with an open systems design including the latest communications, navigation, sensor and weapon systems.
“With its unparalleled performance, sensors, and connectivity, the V6 AH-64E will allow the 1-151st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion to provide unmatched attack helicopter support in any conflict anywhere on the globe,” said US Army Lt. Col. Matt Woolsey, Apache Production and Fielding Product Manager.
The AH-64E includes a new integrated infrared laser that allows for easier target designation and enhanced infrared imagery which blends both infrared and night vision capabilities.
In addition to communications, navigation, and sensors upgrades, the helicopters feature for the first time a cognitive decision aiding system (CDAS). Upgrades include an improved cockpit map display that will allow pilots to use digital map images to see terrain and other topographical features, increasing pilot situational awareness.
The helicopters also feature Link 16 communications, as well as Manned-Unmanned Teaming E\eXpanded (MUMT-X) software designed to allow Apache pilots to directly control other Army unmanned aerial systems, and receive UAS video in the cockpit while directing their flight path and controlling their sensors.
“The arrival of the AH-64E model Apache Guardian to the South Carolina Army National Guard is a vast technological step forward for South Carolina. The AH-64E comes with improved navigation, communication, and weapon systems that will afford the aircrews that fly them a tactical and technical advantage on the battlefield for decades to come. It is the most advanced attack helicopter today, and it now rests in South Carolina as part of the Army’s commitment to a total force approach to defending our nation,” said US Army Col. Jay McElveen, 59th Aviation Troop Command commander, South Carolina National Guard.
US Army soldiers from the 4th Battalion (Attack), 2nd Aviation Regiment (4-2 AB) in South Korea have already completed the fielding of the AH-64E V6 in South Korea earlier this year, while the United Kingdom has also received its first V6 units.