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Update – IMH 2024: British Army to declare AH-64E ‘operationally ready’

Seen at a media event at the type's Wattisham Airfield home operating station, the AH-64E will soon be declared to be IOC by the British Army. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

The British Army is to declare its Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter force to be “operationally ready” in the coming days, a senior official said on 28 February.

Speaking at the IQPC International Military Helicopter (IMH) 2024 conference in London, the official who was presenting under the Chatham House Rule said that with 38 of 50 remanufactured airframes now delivered back to the UK and the remainder arriving by the end of 2024, the AH-64E force as a whole will be declared to be ready for operations March.

“We are now nearing [the] end of our AH-64E fielding, and we will bring this capability to operational readiness next month,” the official said.

News of the imminent declaration of IOC came four months after the British Army said in October 2023 that its first AH-64E unit was “ready for front-line” operations, after the Army Air Corps’ (AAC’s) 3 Regiment passed its validation tests in September 2023. initial operating capability (IOC) was declared in May 2023, when 3 Regiment’s 662 Squadron was cleared for basic overland operations. Full operating capability is scheduled for January 2026.

The AAC began receiving its remanufactured AH-64E helicopters at the Middle Wallop site of the Army Aviation Centre in March 2022. This site will share the training burden alongside the type’s main operating base at Wattisham Airfield in Suffolk, in the east of England.

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