The military has commenced test flights of a new tranche of the attack helicopters.
The British Army’s Wattisham Flying Station has received 14 new AH-64E Apaches over the last few months, with a further 36 due to arrive by mid-2024.
Personnel have commenced test flights of the new platforms ahead of their official entry into service.
The Apaches boast enhanced sensors and lethality, upgraded weapons systems and heightened communications, relative to the MK1.
The advanced attack helicopters are capable of reaching a top speed of 300kmh (186 mph), and are designed to detect 256 potential targets at once at a range of up to 16 kilometres.
The Ministry of Defence has entered into as 20-year agreement with Boeing Defence UK for the maintenance and sustainment of the fleet.
“There can be no doubt these impressive Apache helicopters will help the Army sustain its battle-winning capabilities in future operations,” Defence Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin said.
“In addition to its vital defence purpose, this cutting-edge technology will create and support hundreds of UK jobs.”
Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Sir Chris Tickell KBE welcomed the arrival of the new fleet.
“I am delighted at the introduction of the AH-64E into British Army service, signifying our commitment to investing in the right equipment for our people to compete and win against the threats facing the UK,” he said.
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“Within Future Soldier, we committed to winning the deep battle so that the close battle is as anti-climactic as possible, thereby reducing the risk to our people.
“The AH-64E is a truly world-beating capability that will, alongside other capabilities we are introducing, ensure we succeed.”
Over the coming years, the contract is tipped to generate 200 jobs in the UK, including 165 for the Army Aviation Centre at Middle Wallop in Hampshire and 45 at Wattisham Flying Station in Suffolk.
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