The British Army will achieve initial operating capability of its Apache AH-64E attack helicopters in March, 2024. So far, the Army has inducted 38 units leaving 12 units to go.

The new Apache AH-64Es 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 by the original equipment manufacturer, Boeing, as part of an inter-government agreement signed with the US in 2016.

The AH-64Es will replace their predecessor, the Apache Mk1 variant, of which the leading intelligence consultancy, GlobalData, says the Army currently has 20 units in active service. These units were originally procured between 2001 and 2007.

The new variant 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. 

Boeing’s latest AH-64E ‘Version 6.5’ successfully completed its maiden flight in October 2023. “These enhancements will take the E-model Apache to the next level in terms of capabilities, ensuring Apaches continue to dominate future battlefields,” suggested Christina Upah, vice president of Attack Helicopter Programmes and senior Boeing Mesa site executive at the time of the flight.

According to GlobalData, Boeing designed the AH-64E with open systems architecture to support long-term plans to position the platform as a key component of the multi-domain operations.

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This compliments the UK Ministry of Defence’s procurement reform, in which the Gpovernment prioritises a fast delivery with minimal sovereign configuration details, underscored in the Defence Command Paper in July 2023.

The latest E-model also provides the capability to gain advantage in highly contested and complex battle environments. The helicopter combines on board and off board sensors, connectivity, and stand-off long-range weapons to ensure current and future joint mission success.

Additional reporting from Andrew Salerno-Garthwaite.