As Boeing prepares for a possible F model Apache as a bridge between the legacy helicopter and the Future Vertical Lift aircraft, the US Army says it will not pursue the development of the AH-64F.
Boeing’s plan includes securing a second multi-year buy for the Apaches, which would be followed by the second iteration of the E model or an F model, Kim Smith, Boeing’s vice president for attack helicopter programs told reporters at the AUSA Annual meeting in Washington DC. The customer would choose the designation for the helicopter, she says.
But the Army is not pursuing development of an AH-64F, a spokesman for the service’s deputy chief of staff for program development said. This echoes comments from Gen. John (Mike) Murray himself on FVL earlier this month. He said the army will not be able to afford funding the Apache and FVL concurrently.
The army will continue buying the Apache through the 2020s and Boeing’s production line will end in 2026. FVL is slated to come online in 2030. While the service does not have a current requirement for an F model, it would open dialogue with industry if a requirement emerges, the spokesman says.
Boeing is examining its plan past 2026 and keeping an eye on the FVL timeline to see whether the fielding date remains the same. The upgraded E or new F model would also take into account the Army’s Improved Turbine Engine Programme, which would replace the GE T700 engine that powers both the AH-64 and Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky UH-60.