U.S. ARMY APACHE
NEW APACHES ESSENTIAL to U.S. ARMY'S OP TEMPO
By Lisa Dunbar
Bob Ferguson Photo
New-Build AH-64Ds meet operational tempo demands.
Securing America's freedom, helicopters have been lost in battles during four wars, on three continents, in high altitudes over treacherous mountains, in sandstorms, ice storms and maelstroms of enemy fire.
Boeing Rotorcraft Systems teammates in Mesa, Ariz., are working to get wartime replacement Apache aircraft back out to the U.S. Army warfighters as soon as possible. Fifty-two AH-64 Apache helicopters lost through combat actions or in accidents during the past decade in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Kosovo are being replaced over the next few years.
"It is essential to soldiers and aviators that we get more aircraft ready for service," said Mike Burke, Boeing director of Army Rotorcraft business development. "The continued success of the Apache and its ability lead the fight and provide security over-watch for allied troops in ground convoys and to operate in the dusty desert heat and in high altitudes has made the aircraft incredibly valuable in all theaters of operation."
"The War Replacement Aircraft contract returns new-build Apaches to the warfighter for today's operational demands and for the next fight, which is vital to the Army's objective of maintaining overall force structure," said Apache WRA Program Manager Travis Williams.
U.S. Army Photo - CW2 Sam Lazarus
"These aircraft represent the first U.S. Army new-build D-model procurements and pilots are eager to fly the brand new version of this mission proven helicopter," he added.
The U.S. Army awarded the AH-64D War Replacement Aircraft Program an initial contract in September 2005 for 13 aircraft. Additional contract plus-up modifications were awarded in 2006, 2007 and 2008 bringing the total to 52 aircraft with a total contract value of $755 million.
The first new-build Apache helicopter was delivered in May 2007. And all contracted War Replacement Aircraft have been delivered on cost, and on time – or ahead of schedule.
In the midst of the additional remanufactured aircraft, the Army has awarded new-build AH-64Ds totaling 52 Wartime Replacement Aircraft (WRA). At publication deadline in late 2009, the Army was expected to award an additional 12 WRA helicopters from Fiscal Year 2009 Supplemental funding. And then, there remains the possibility of additional WRA aircraft to be awarded in Fiscal Year 2010.
Boeing will then be on contract for an estimated 68 new-build D-model aircraft.
U.S. Army Photo - SFC Jose Ramon Jr.
Bottom line: Since the end of the two five-year, multi-year Apache Longbow contracts that produced 501 remanufactured aircraft for the U.S. Army, the series of follow-on contracts for new and remanufactured Apaches has kept production managers and the Apache Team busy meeting the Army's needs. And yes, even with these disruptive build rated the Apache Team continues to deliver ahead of schedule.
And before long, Apache Block III will add its unique mark to a successful production epic.
U.S. Army Photo - LTC Mike Slocum