The U.S. Army’s 12th Combat Aviation Brigade received two new model Apache helicopters, which feature state-of-the-art enhancements to the aircraft’s sensors, software, and weapon systems at Wiesbaden Army Airfield, Clay Kaserne, Germany, Sept. 1, 2023. The new Apaches, officially designated AH-64E Version 6 Apache Guardians, are the first of an anticipated 24 the unit is scheduled to receive. They arrived on a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport aircraft, were unloaded, and then two of the unit’s existing AH-64 Delta models took their place aboard the transport, bound for a different U.S. Army combat aviation brigade. The AH-64E V6 includes multiple enhancements to the aircraft’s sensors, software, and weapons performance, and is designed for interoperability within the multi-domain operational ecosystem. The AH-64E V6 is a lethal, survivable, and agile system providing ground forces with more reach, maneuverability, and performance.
“This new aircraft gives us so many more capabilities. There are upgrades on so many different aspects of the aircraft, which will better aid our abilities to support our Allies here in the European Theater,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Brigit Duffy, a maintenance platoon leader with 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment (Attack Battalion), 12th CAB.
“This aircraft will allow use of the AGM-179 Joint Air-to-Ground Missile and future integration of the Spike NLOS [a multi-purpose, electro-optical/infrared missile system],” said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Michael Weisskopf, the brigade standardization officer with 12th CAB. “It also has a full instrument suite allowing IFR [flying in clouds] allowing us to deploy in bad weather.”
By delivering and integrating advanced capabilities through a layered effect of onboard and off-board sensors, stand-off long-range weapons, and the connectivity required to use all the tools the ecosystem can bring, Boeing’s AH-64E V6 is a fully integrated, optimized for battle attack helicopter that is truly in a class by itself. Capable of destroying armor, personnel, and materiel targets in obscured battlefield conditions, the AH-64E V6 comes equipped with air to ground Hellfire missiles that are semi-active laser or radar guided, 2.75-inch Hydra rockets, which are laser guided point detonating, and an M230 30 mm chain machine gun that shoots 625 rounds per minute, with a range of 4.2 kilometers.
Prior to the arrival of these V6s, 12th CAB sent a few pilots to the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, at Fort Novosel, Alabama, for initial training. Maintainers, on the other hand, are scheduled to be trained here in Germany beginning in October, with an estimated completion date of January 2024. USAACE is scheduled to send their New Equipment Training Team to train the pilots and maintainers over the course of the next seven months. As the U.S. Army continues to build the Army of 2030 and invests in next generation technologies, the Apache brings affordable Modular Open Systems Architecture capability to serve as a centerpiece in the Multi-Domain Operations battlefield for decades to come.