AH-64E Apache helicopter U.S. Army 2015
Soldiers, from the 1-229th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., became the first in the Army to field the latest version of the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, Feb. 21, 2013 (CREDIT: Capt. Jesse Paulsboe).
(Photo by Capt. Jesse Paulsboe)

The following is a release from C. Todd Lopez and the U.S. Army:

In late March, the Army accepted delivery of the 100th AH-64E Apache helicopter.

The “Echo” model is a complete rebuild of the AH-64D model. It includes an improved drive system, composite main rotor blades, a more powerful 701D GE engine, is fully digitized, and has level-4 manned-unmanned teaming, which allows pilots to control unmanned aerial systems – such as the Gray Eagle.

The Echo model, “can fly higher, faster and further than the D model – and the D model is an extremely capable aircraft,” said Col. Jeffrey Hager, the Apache project manager.

Hager spoke, March 31, during a media event at the Army Aviation Association of America conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

“But this aircraft outperforms and outdoes the Delta model to date,” Hager said. “The enemy continually [was] thrown off-base because the Echo showed up to combat operations well before the Delta could have under the same conditions.”

The AH-64E Apache’s recent success came in Afghanistan with the 1-229th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, or ARB, out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. The unit was the first to be fielded with the aircraft.

“They flew nearly 11,000 combat hours – that’s absolutely phenomenal for what we have done with the Echo – since it’s a brand new airframe,” he said. “The enemy had to change up their combat operations in order to combat the effectiveness of the Echo model.”

Hager said the 1-101st ARB out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, will continue with that success when they replace the 1-229th in Afghanistan later this fiscal year. The 1-25th ARB has also been fielded with the AH-64E Apache. And already, training coordination has begun for the fourth unit to be equipped with the aircraft, the 3-301st ARB, out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

The AH-64E Apache has maintained 80 percent operational readiness rates, whether in combat or in peacetime operations, Hager said.

The Army plans to have an all-Echo model Apache fleet, for a total of 690 aircraft.

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