The US Army’s fleet of AH-64E Apache choppers has experienced a significant increase in electrical power generator failures over the last two years, causing “potentially hazardous” flight conditions.
An army aviation spokesman recently told Breaking Defense that the helicopter’s cockpit is often filled with thick smoke whenever the power generator fails.
The incident reportedly causes breathing and visibility issues for pilots, resulting in precautionary landings.
However, the spokesperson clarified that the generator issues have not caused fatal crashes or prompted the US Army to order a stand down.
“A long-term solution is under investigation,” he told the outlet. “Engineering effort will commence once the program is funded.”
The US Army said it has instituted a “multi-faceted approach” to resolving the issue or somehow reducing the severity of generator failures.
Among its “interim actions” include retrofitting the fleet to automatically shut down a compromised generator as soon as a fault is detected.
However, it is still not clear if the generator issues will affect foreign military sales of the Boeing-made helicopter.
The Apache Helicopter
The AH-64E Apache is regarded as one of the most advanced attack helicopters in service with the US Army.
It is capable of destroying armored targets in obscured battlefield conditions.
The aircraft is equipped with an M230 30-millimeter cannon, Hydra-70 2.75-inch rockets, and Hellfire laser-guided missiles.
It has a maximum speed of 164 knots (303 kilometers/188 miles per hour) and a combat range of 260 nautical miles (481 kilometers).