The U.S. Army’s AH-64 Apache attack helicopter fleet has officially logged 5 million flight hours since the first AH-64A was delivered in 1984. According to Apache manufacturer Boeing, 1.3 million of those hours were flown during combat. The Army currently operates a fleet of more than 1,200 D- and E-model Apaches.
“It is such a great privilege and an honor to be a part of the Apache program,” said U.S Army Apache Project Manager Col. John Maher. “The five million flight hours milestone is a testament to the reliability and availability of the Apache in some of the world’s most demanding conditions.”
The AH-64E is expected to be in production until at least 2028. In October 2022, Boeing announced that it was developing a “Modernized Apache” concept expected to feature drivetrain upgrades, a Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA), advanced mission systems, advanced sensors and sensor fusion and airborne long-range precision munitions. In addition to the U.S. Army, the Apache is operated by nations including Egypt, Greece, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.
I’m curious how useful these aircraft are in a contested environment. Back in 1999 we deployed Apaches to Kosovo to support KFOR but they were never used in combat because of concerns about likely losses to ground fire. The threat environment has gotten much worse since then, and though countermeasures have also improved, it’s not clear how effective these will be. It’s related to the A-10 debate — low and slow is dangerous in an area saturated with MPADs….