Army’s new Apache attack helicopters undergo test flights

·2-min read

New Apache attack helicopters, which can detect 256 potential targets at once and prioritise threats in seconds, are undergoing test flights with the British Army.

Fourteen of the AH-64E Apache aircraft have been delivered to Wattisham Flying Station in Suffolk in recent months, with 36 more due to arrive by summer 2024.

Prince Harry flew Apache helicopters on training missions from the base when he served with the Army.

The new helicopters, which have a top speed of 186mph, can detect targets up to a range of 10 miles.

Apache AH-64E attack helicopter
The Army’s new Apache AH-64E attack helicopter is displayed at Wattisham Flying Station (Joe Giddens/PA)

The fleet will replace the Apache AH Mark 1, which will go out of service in 2024.

Defence procurement minister Jeremy Quin said: “There can be no doubt these impressive Apache helicopters will help the Army sustain its battle-winning capabilities in future operations.

“In addition to its vital defence purpose, this cutting-edge technology will create and support hundreds of UK jobs.”

A 20-year agreement has been signed with Boeing Defence UK to maintain and support the new fleet.

Apache AH-64E attack helicopter
The Apache AH-64E attack helicopter at Wattisham Flying Station (Joe Giddens/PA)

The first period of the contract, to July 2025 with £287 million confirmed, is set to create more than 200 jobs in the UK, including 165 for the Army Aviation Centre at Middle Wallop in Hampshire and 45 at Wattisham Flying Station.

The British Army has been using the Apache capability since 2005, with the attack helicopters used in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Sir Chris Tickell KBE, said: “I am delighted at the introduction of the AH-64E into British Army service, signifying our commitment to investing in the right equipment for our people to compete and win against the threats facing the UK.”