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British Army Flight-Testing New Apache Helicopters

The British military is currently conducting flight-testing of more than a dozen new AH-64E Apache helicopters a year before they are expected to enter operational service.

Regarded as one of the world’s most advanced attack helicopters, the Apache is equipped with a Rolls Royce engine enabling it to fly up to 186 miles (299 kilometers) per hour.

The aircraft can simultaneously detect 256 potential targets up to 10 miles (16 kilometers) away and prioritize threats in a matter of seconds.

Developed and manufactured by American aerospace firm Boeing, the helicopter features a new drivetrain and rotor blades, improved sights, sensors, communications systems, and enhanced overall performance.

It can be mounted with weapons, including a 30-millimeter chain gun, 70-millimeter rockets, and Hellfire missiles for increased lethality and mission flexibility.

Fourteen Apache helicopters were delivered to the Wattisham Flying Station in Suffolk several months ago, and 36 more are due to arrive in the country by summer 2024.

Two US Army AH-64D Apache attack helicopters launch eight "fire and forget" AGM-114L Hellfire Air to Surface Missiles during a training exercise off the coast of Oahu as part of the Rim of the Pacific in 2016.
Two US Army AH-64D Apache attack helicopters launch eight “fire and forget” AGM-114L Hellfire Air to Surface Missiles during a training exercise off the coast of Oahu as part of the Rim of the Pacific in 2016. Photo: Sgt. Erin Sherwood/US Army

Sustaining ‘Battle-Winning Capabilities’

Deputy Chief of General Staff Chris Tickell expressed his enthusiasm about the AH-64E’s introduction into British Army service. He explained that acquiring such a platform signifies the country’s commitment to investing in the right equipment to help address various threats facing the UK.

“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,” he said. “The AH-64E is a truly world-beating capability that will, alongside other capabilities we are introducing, ensure we succeed.”

British Defence Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin asserted that the country’s fleet of 50 new Apache helicopters will help sustain the army’s “battle-winning capabilities” in future operations.

He also revealed that, aside from providing additional capabilities to the military, the procurement of Apache helicopters will create more than 200 jobs in the UK.

The AH-64E Apache helicopters will replace the country’s Apache AH Mk1, which will go out of service in 2024.

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