Air Platforms

US Army conducts operational testing of Version 6 configuration AH-64E Apaches

26 June 2019

The US Army plans to field 491 Version 6 AH-64E Apaches out of a total force of 691 helicopters. A Version 6 helicopter is seen here conducting operational trials at Fort Hood in June. Source: US Army

The US Army has conducted operational trials of the Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian upgraded to the new Lot/Version 6 configuration, the service announced on 24 June.

The tests at Fort Hood in Texas saw the upgraded Apache operate alongside unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and ground units to test the helicopter's upgraded target acquisition and interoperability capabilities.

"The operational test collected data on the ability of an AH-64E Version 6-equipped unit to conduct attack, reconnaissance, and security missions in land and maritime environments," Larry Hood, a Supervisor Military Test Plans Analyst with the US Army Operational Test Command's Aviation Test Directorate, was quoted by the service as saying.

The Version 6 upgrade for the Apache was launched as part of a wider USD1.5 billion effort to remanufacture the army's current AH-64Ds into AH-64Es. As noted by the US Army, the Version 6 upgrade comprises a Modernized Day Sensor Assembly (MDSA), "which greatly extends standoff and is a game-changer against a complex and hybrid threat", an improved cognitive decision aiding system (CDAS), software upgrades, and an upgraded mission processor.

The service has previously told Jane's that the Version 6 configuration specifically includes a new maritime targeting mode, as well as aided target detection/classification; multimode laser image blending; a radar frequency interferometer (RFI); passive ranging/range extension; fire-control radar enhancements; Longbow integrated maintenance support system ground analysis software improvement; an interactive electronic technical manual upgrade; and Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW)-embedded diagnostics.

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