With a successful showing at exercise Iron Titan, the British Army’s largest land exercise in 20 years, Apache AH-64E attack helicopters have been declared ready for frontline duty, the British army announced on 23 October.
Over 6 weeks, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps (AAC) planned and executed simulated strike missions, while Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and ground crew kept the aircraft in working order and ran Forward Arming and Refuelling points in isolated locations.
Testing the full gamut of requirements, Iron Titan put every aspect of the unit, from logistics and command and control procedures to maintenance and operations, through its paces.
“To achieve validation, every single function that we deliver as a Regiment has been tested in a realistic scenario that reflects the challenges of modern operations,” said 3 Regt AAC’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Rich Simcock. “We have shown how we can sustain ourselves and survive on the battlefield, while striking targets far behind enemy lines to give ground troops a decisive advantage.”
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50 new Apache AH-64E attack helicopters to be delivered by 2024
The new Apache AH-64E’s were first delivered in November 2020, when the British army received two of the attack helicopters from a compliment of 50 that are being procured from Boeing as part of an inter-government agreement signed with the US in 2016, expected to be completed in 2024.
The AH-64Es will replace the Apache MK1 helicopters that have been in service with the British Army since 2001. The AH-64E is considered one of the most advanced multi-role helicopters in the world today, with improvement over predecessors including advancements in sensors and new avionics, such as communications and data sharing facilities.
The flight performance has received a boost as well, with a new drivetrain and rotor blades. Units operating the new Apache should also expect to see better availability froth air platform, as an embedded maintenance diagnostic system has been added to cue dynamic servicing.
In June 2021 the UK Minister of Defence Procurement confirmed that the helicopters will be armed with the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM), as well as the Hellfire K1 and Hellfire Romeo missiles, and a 30mm chain gun.