PEO Aviation unveils Block III Apache Longbow
The Army’s PEO Aviation took the opportunity Friday to introduce its newest version of the Apache helicopter, the AH-64D Longbow Apache Block III. It is all you could ever want in an attack helicopter.
The newest variant inside the Apache line, this version carries on a heritage that dates back towards the mid 1990s when the Block I program began, taking the current Block II version and updating it to 21st century technologies. The Army’s Redstone Test Center put it via its paces towards the delight of a media and contractor audience.
Apache Block III Program Manager Lt. Col. Dan Bailey said the new version incorporates a lot of new attributes, a 25% improve in power, and capabilities Modular Force Connectivity achieved through global details method grid connections. The new Apache also functions Level IV Unmanned Aircraft Technique (UAS) control, new extended range sensors and weapons, and decreased pilot workload via the use of cognitive choice aiding technologies.
All this, though shaving off hundreds of pounds of weight, and significantly improved cruise speed. Block III are going to be able to operate at 6,000 feet and reach a best speed of 164 knots, about 20 knots quicker than the Block II version, too as obtain an out-of-ground effect hover at an air temperature of 95 degrees with a full mission payload. “This is often a game altering aircraft,” Bailey said. “Besides the boost in leading speed, it will turn quicker and tighter, additional like a sports auto than a sedan.”
The aircrafts new cognitive choice producing technologies make the helicopter simpler to fly, lowering pilot tension, and permitting the pilot to focus much more on situational awareness. “Everything is automated. It definitely saves pilot effort,” said Bailey.
Bailey said the Block III has finished limited user testing, and also the aircraft is now in its workload assessment for training. “We’re testing its airworthiness, making sure it performs as created,” he said.
The Block III program adds a main development in aerial combat – the ability for the Apache pilot to communicate with unmanned aerial vehicles and remotely control their flight paths and weapons systems. Boeing Director of Organization Development for Army Aviation Programs Ray Handy stated this makes it possible for Apache pilots to create kills without becoming anyplace inside the enemy’s vicinity. “It uses what we call Level of Operability 4, which gives you the ability to take operational control of the UAV and its sensor,” Handy explained.
PEO Aviation expects the field the very first Block III Apaches sometime in 2012, with complete fielding of 56 platforms scheduled for FY 2013.