The first unit worldwide that operates the newest E-version of the legendary Boeing AH-64 Apache Guardian has officially been declared operational on the type on 27 November 2013.
The US Army’s 1-229th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Seattle, Washington, has now reached initial operational capability. The ‘Tigersharks’ – as the nickname of the unit goes – flies 24 AH-64E attack helicopters. It accumulated 6,000 flight hours on the type since January this year. Part of the training hours were together with AH-64Ds of the Japanese armed forces exercising in Washington.
Compared to those AH-64Ds the AH-64E is 25 knots faster, has a much improved fire control and targeting system, newer avionics and has a better rotor and mechanical system. Apache Guardian crews can even control drones (UAVs) from their own workspace while airborne.
The US Army plans to reburbish more than 600 Apaches currently flying with the service into the E-standard. Moreover, Boeing will manufacture 47 new AH-64E Apache Guardians.