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Army Eyes Replacing Apache With FARA As Its ‘Kick In The Door’ Attack Helicopter

For decades, the AH-64 Apache has been the Army’s Alpha Dog, the aircraft you go to war in on day one. Apparently, that won’t be the case in the not-so-distant future. Some time around 2030, the Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) will be its first-day fighter.

If the idea of FARA as a “kick in the door” attack helicopter comes as news to you, you’re not alone. It has largely been promoted as a light-attack reconnaissance helicopter, meant to work with other joint force platforms and air-launched affects, and to relieve the Apache of the mission once performed by the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior.

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Army Helo Market Pegged at $10 Billion

Market opportunities for the Army’s helicopter fleet will average about $10 billion per year over the next decade as the service modernizes its rotary-wing assets, according to analysts.

The current inventory includes UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters, AH-46 Apache attack helicopters, CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters and UH-72 Lakota light utility helicopters. All but the Lakota are still in production today.

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It’s a Deal: Army Wants Boeing to Build or Fix 600 AH-64E Apaches

The US Army plans to grant Boeing a multiyear contract for the production or remanufacture of up to 600 AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters. According to a US Army notice online, the contract would consist of a five-year multiyear contract or one-year contract with options from FY2022 to FY2026. Its value is still undisclosed. As told by Flight Global, the army intends on sole sourcing the work to Boeing and posted its plan online so as to give other potentially interested parties a chance to bid.

In 2017, Boeing and the US government signed the first five-year, $3.4 billion contract through which the Army, and an undisclosed foreign military customer, were to acquire the ?E? variant of the Apache. As part of that contract, the US Army was to receive 244 remanufactured Apaches, while 24 new ones were to go to the international customer.

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Pilots, ground troops combine to test Apache helicopter modernization upgrades

FORT HOOD, Texas — During the largest Aviation test of 2019, Apache and Unmanned Aerial System pilots joined combat ground forces to test an upgraded Apache helicopter version. The complex operational test of the AH64E Version 6 Apache helicopter upgraded improved target acquisition and joint interoperability, while taking a look at its increased lethality and survivability on the modern battlefield.

“The operational test collected data on the ability of an AH-64E Version 6-equipped unit to conduct attack, reconnaissance, and security missions in land and maritime environments,” said Mr. Larry Hood, a Supervisor Military Test Plans Analyst with the U.S. Army Operational Test Command’s Aviation Test Directorate.

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Future of Army Aviation Funding Remains Murky

The Army has ambitious plans to acquire next-generation aircraft as it gears up for great power competition. But uncertainty about future vertical lift programs and other modernization efforts leaves an unclear picture of what lies ahead, analysts say.

The service has about 4,300 piloted aircraft, most of which are helicopters, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The H-60 Black Hawks, AH-64 Apaches and H-47 Chinooks account for most of the rotary wing platforms.

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A small but critical defect has ‘crash landed’ Apache readiness, according to a top Army general

More than a year after the Army ordered the inspection of a critical safety part in every AH-64 Apache aircraft in the service’s fleet, soldiers have spent the equivalent of nine months in extra man-hours retrofitting the airframe so far, a task that has “crash landed” back on combat readiness, a top Army official said on Monday.

On Monday, the head of Army Forces Command revealed that soldiers had sunk an eye-popping 6,672 man hours working their way through the 653 AH-64s in the Army’s fleet with the hopes of completing the retrofit by December 2019.

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The US AH-64 Apache and Russian Ka-52 are the world’s most feared attack helicopters ? here’s how they match up

There’s one big difference between a military attack helicopter and a military transport helicopter: one carries a lot of guns, and the other carries a lot of weight.And the US Army AH-64 Apache and Russian Ka-52 Alligator are generally considered to be the two best military attack helicopters in the world (with the Russian Mi-28N arguably in a close third).

The Apache first flew in 1975, and has since been upgraded several times, with the newest variant being the AH-64E.

The Alligator, on the other hand, first flew in 1997 and is a successor to the Ka-50 Black Shark.

BusinessInsider.com

Army aviation taking major steps in 2019 to improve fleet

WASHINGTON ? The U.S. Army aviation?s program office is taking steps in 2019 to improve the fleet, to include moving forward on a major engine replacement effort for UH-60 Black Hawk and AH-64 Apache helicopters as well as providing some of the fleet with improved visibility for degraded visual environments, according to the service?s program executive officer for aviation.

Both of those efforts have been touted as major priorities for Army aviation but have taken longer to bring online than expected.

The service is headed into a period of aggressive modernization to include a plan to buy two new Future Vertical Lift helicopters in the 2030s, but the Army also has to strike a balance to keep its current fleet capable and ready.

DefenseNews.com

Army’s Cold War-Era Apache Gunship Will Fly 30 More Years, General Says

The U.S. Army has no current plans to replace its Cold-War era AH-64 Apache, a still-lethal attack helicopter that the service plans to fly into combat for at least another three decades, according to the head of Army aviation.

“Right now, it’s an incredibly capable aircraft that we know we are going to be flying well into the 40s,” Maj. Gen. William Gayler, who commands the Army’s Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker, Alabama, told an audience Wednesday at the Association of the United States Army’s Aviation Hot Topic event.

Military.com

Army is Paying Out $35,000 Bonuses to Reduce Apache Pilot Shortage

The head of the Army aviation today said that the service is about six years away from reversing its shortage of pilots for the AH-64 Apache and other rotary-wing aircraft.

“We are short pilots … we are under our authorization for aviators, most predominantly seen in the AH-64 community,” Maj. Gen. William Gayler, commanding general of the Army’s Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker, Alabama, told an audience at the Association of the United States Army’s Sept. 5 Aviation Hot Topic event.

Military.com