The AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter is the latest version of the AH-64, used by the US Army. It is also known as Apache Guardian. Until 2012 it was designated as AH-64D Block III. It has a number of improvements and upgrades, including more powerful engines, upgraded transmission and other improvements. This gunship might be also fitted with updated Longbow fire control radar.
This gunship comes with new sensors, avionics and has improved night operation capabilities. Furthermore the AH-64E helicopter can control a couple of UAVs. This attack helicopter is operated by a crew of 2, including pilot and gunner
This helicopter is fitted with more powerful General Electric T700-GE-701D engines, developing 1 994 shp instead on the 1 800 shp on the previous versions. Also it has upgraded transmission to coupe with extra power. The AH-64E has new composite rotor blades. These are designed to withstand hits from 23-mm anti-aircraft guns. Maximum speed of this helicopter is up to 300 km/h.
There are numerous features to protect the crew and increase survivability of the helicopter. The airframe is designed to withstand hits from guns of up to 12.7-mm caliber. Rotor blades can withstand hits from 23-mm guns. A large flat-plate canopy is fitted with boran armor. Crew members are seated on crash-resistant seats. The AH-64E has infra-red suppressing exhaust system and is equipped with chaff and flare dispensers. Bothe of these features combined reduce the chance of being hit by enemy air defense missiles.
This attack helicopter might be fitted with a Longbow fire control radar, which is also used on the previous AH-64D variant. It gives the capability to fire AGM-114R Hellfire-2 anti-tank guided missiles in fire-and-forget mode. Without this radar the Hellfire-2 missiles are launched in the line-of-sight manner. The radar can detect, classify and prioritise 12 targets simultaneously, and can see through the fog an smoke, that foils infra-red or TV sensors.
The AH-64E comes with a 30-mm M230 cannon with 1 200 rounds of ammunition. It has 4 hardpoint on stub wings and can carry various missiles. Armament is being tailored, depeinding on mission requirements. The AH-64E can carry up to 16 AGM-114R Hellfire 2 anti-tank guided missiles, up to two AIM-9 Sidewinder, four AIM-92 Stinger, or four Mistral air-to-air missiles. It can also carry two AGM-122 Sidearm anti-radiation missiles. The gunship is often equipped with 19-shot Hydra 70 unoperated rocket pods. It can carry up to 4 of these pods.
The Apache is expected to remain in service until 2040. The latest contract, awarded in April, is to upgrade 117 Apaches for $922 million by 2018. Ultimately, 634 Apaches will be upgraded to Guardians, and once those are done, fifty-six brand-new AH-64Es will be produced. Many of the Apaches will serve in new active-duty Attack-Reconnaissance battalions, composed of Apaches taken away from the National Guard units to replace the retired OH-58 scout helicopter.
This attack helicopter has been approved for export. Export operators are Saudi Arabia and Taiwan. This helicopter has been ordered by other countries. India ordered 22 of these gunships, Indonesia 8, Qatar 24, South Korea 36, and the United Arab Emirates 30. In 2014 Iraq ordered 24 of these helicopters, but later cancelled this order. In 2015 the United Kingdom has requested to remanufacture 50 of its WAH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters of this latest AH-64E standard.