Our Customers Come First and They Keep Us "On Track."
Bob Ferguson Photo
Leading the Boeing Apache Programs since 2001, I am absolutely certain of the importance of keeping the customer number one. Do that and the program will survive and thrive. And we have survived, and we continue to thrive.
Every day our customers – the U.S. Army and the defense forces of allied nations around the world - fly and maintain Apache helicopters in the most extreme conditions and environments. Today, after nearly nine years of deployments in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Apache continues its record of outstanding performance. Our customers are number one, and our focus on this conviction plays a big role in how very well the Apache performs, allowing courageous men and women to accomplish critical missions every day.
I am proud of our association with the men and women who deploy with this incredible aircraft in combat. People today and tomorrow look at this generation of incredible aviators, maintainers and commanders with great admiration. Boeing and Team Apache leaders attending the Welcome Home ceremonies for battalions returning from today's battlefields, have a unique honor to recognize and acknowledge the accomplishments, sacrifices and contributions of these soldiers. The stories of bravery, selflessness, courage, and honor are astounding. And it's not just a ceremony, we listen to the returning soldiers as they share "lessons learned" focusing our priority on keeping the customer number one. We listen to what the customer describes about the aircraft, and how we can possibly make it better. Having attended many after action reviews, you might suspect that we'd hear about a number of things to improve on the aircraft, but really there are few expressed complaints about any mechanical issues, sighting or weapons systems. The principle complaint is about the comfort (or lack thereof) of the pilots' seat cushion. What a statement about the ability of the Apache to perform as promised. It's lethal, survivable, maintainable – all critical attributes of an attack helicopter. But, remembering that our customer is number one, we have work to do – because after all these missions, the comfort of the seat is a concern, and Apache aviators still have critical missions to accomplish. We are focused on the customer, and yes, we are working on a more comfortable seat! Our customer speaks, and we listen and work together toward a solution. Listening carefully to the U.S. Army Apache project manager, to the U.S. Army Training and Capabilities manager, and to leaders of international defense forces is Boeing and Team Apache's way of keeping the customer number one. In large measure, listening and staying connected has enabled integration of new technologies into the aircraft – making it more capable for the warfighter. And we have been able to maintain the technological overmatch the Apache enjoys over every other attack helicopter in the world today.
Going forward, we will continue the tradition of listening and staying connected with customers with the introduction of the Apache Block III. As designed, tested and proven, the AH-64D Apache Block III is an awesome aircraft! Twenty-six new technologies will enhance aircraft performance, reduce operations and support costs, improve target detection, increase situational awareness and survivability, and improve maintenance and training. The Block III technologies being integrated are the culmination of listening to the customer over the life of the Apache. At the heart of this incredible aircraft will be an Open Systems Architecture, allowing future upgrades to be accomplished faster and cheaper. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Level IV capability, allowing for greater survivability, lethality, and battlefield integration will mean unprecedented situational awareness and successful manned/unmanned teaming. I could go on and on about the Block III helicopter… and I’m excited to show it to you – so come to Mesa, Ariz. and see it coming together as we continue our efforts toward milestone achievement and production.
We are proud of the technologies that this amazing aircraft will feature and it's exciting to understand what the Apache Block III will allow our customers to accomplish. Providing a superior attack helicopter that delivers on the promises made is the best way of ensuring the continued success of the Apache program – that and remembering everyday that our number one priority is our customer.
Albert L. Winn,
vice president, Apache Programs