The Boeing Company, U.S. Army leaders, supplier representatives and other guests celebrated the first flight of the AH-64D Apache Block III helicopter this week in Mesa, Ariz. Just prior to a ceremony attended by more than 300 people at the company’s Apache production facility, the aircraft was flown by two Apache-rated aviators – U.S. Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Richard Cody and an Army experimental test pilot, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Rucie Moore.
Experimental test pilots – one U.S. Army soldier and one Boeing teammate – initially flew this Block III prototype aircraft over the Arizona desert on June 27 in preparation for this week’s ceremony.
Block III improvements include increasing digitization, the joint tactical radio system, enhanced engines and drive systems, capability to control UAVs, new composite rotor blade and landing gear upgrades. The new blades, which successfully completed flight testing in May 2004, increase the Apache’s cruise speed, climb rate and payload capability.
The Army awarded Boeing the first Apache Block III contract in June 2005. In accordance with contractual milestones, Boeing plans to begin Low Rate Initial Production in April 2010 and to deliver the first production AH-64D Apache Block III in June 2011.
Photo Credit: Boeing Image