A new Apache attack helicopter with increased speed and less drag: these modifications, known as AH-64E Block 2 Compound are being tested by Boeing. As reported by Jane’s the new Apache would feature a large fixed-wing, rearward-pointing exhaust, a downward-pointing vertical fin, and a pusher propeller in the rear. The AH-64E Block 2 Compound keeps the tail rotor for anti-torque. These modifications are being tested at Boeing’s wind tunnel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at 30% scale. The tests are expected to wrap up by January.
According to the company these modifications would provide 50% more speed and range, twice the lifespan, and 24% better fuel efficiency for a 20% increase in price. The current AH-64E features upward pointing exhaust, an upward-pointing vertical fin, and only stub wings for carrying weapons.
Randy Bregger, Boeing Advanced Apache programme manager, told the Vertical Flight Society’s Helicopter Military Operations Technology (HELMOT) conference in Virginia on Oct. 25, 2018 that the company is hoping these modifications would attract the U.S. Army to buy the AH-64E Block 2 Compound and bridge an expected production gap between when AH-64E production ends around 2032 and the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) attack aircraft reaches initial operational capability (IOC) around 2045.
Bregger said that adding the fixed wing takes some of the load off the main rotor while adding the pusher propeller increases the airspeed and efficiency. Adding the fixed wing also contributes to the 23% increase in range.
The AH-64 Apache is the world’s most advanced multi-role combat helicopter and is used by the U.S. Army and a growing number of international defense forces. Boeing has delivered more than 2,200 Apaches to customers around the world since the aircraft entered production. The U.S. Army Apache fleet has accumulated (as of July 2016) more than 4.2 million flight hours since the first AH-64A was delivered to the U.S. Army in January 1984.
Photo credit: Graham Warwick The Woracle
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com
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