The US Army is carrying out a retrofit of the strap pack of its Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopter fleet.
Nearly 19% completion has been achieved by the service with the retrofit of the helicopters. The project is to be concluded by the third quarter of next year.
Known as mega-nuts, the strap pack helps connect the rotor heads of the Apache helicopters to their air frame and prevents the blades from spinning off during flight.
Eight strap pack nuts are used to connect the rotor blades on an AH-64 Apache aircraft to its air frame.
Earlier this year, the US Army was challenged with a safety concern related to the adverse effect of severe weather conditions and salt in coastal areas on the aircraft fleet.
In February, the US Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) issued guidance to carry out strict pre-flight and post-flight inspections of the strap pack nuts on all Apache helicopters deployed with the army.
Until completion of the inspections, the US Army has temporarily cancelled the delivery of new AH-64E Apache multi-role combat helicopters.
Under the current strap pack upgrade project, two battalions are being refitted every month.
US Army AMCOM commander major general Douglas M. Gabram said: “We’re doing major surgery on every one of our main rotor heads. Why: to reduce the burden on the soldier, because we don’t want to borescope this thing for the rest of our life, every day.”
In March last year, Boeing and the US Government signed a five-year contract, worth $3.4bn, for the acquisition of 244 remanufactured AH-64E Apache helicopters by the US Army and another 24 new aircraft by an international customer.