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US Army continues Apache upgrades with AH-64E V6.5 as the latest variant

Photo: Boeing

US Army and Boeing are advancing investment in the AH-64E attack helicopter, announcing Version 6.5, featuring upgraded software to enhance its survivability on the modern battlefield.

Since its introduction as the AH-64A in 1984 to the present AH-64E variant, the Apache has served as the fundamental pillar of the US Army’s attack helicopter fleet, characterized by its incorporation of an Open Systems Interface.

The OSI represents an initial stride towards an open systems architecture, enabling swift integration of new technologies and enhanced capabilities in future updates. V6.5 of AH-64E brings a range of other upgrades, including improved lethality, survivability, situational awareness, navigation, and communication.

In addition to its software updates, V6.5 encompasses several hardware insertions that necessitate a modification work order to enable retrofitting of all V4 series and V6 series Apache E-model aircraft.

During 2025, the Apache will undergo further software and hardware updates to incorporate the enhanced turbine engine (ITE) for developmental testing. Following the successful completion of the developmental testing phase, the Apache will assist the Advanced Turbine Engine office in conducting operational tests and evaluations for the ITE program.

“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 engine,” Col. Jay Maher, 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.”

V6.5 of the Apache helicopter remains on track for its First Flight scheduled in the autumn of 2023. The program is expected to conclude in 2025, and the retrofit fielding is currently planned to begin in 2026.