Army

British Army testing new Apache helicopters with improved weapons and sensors

The new AH-64E Apache can detect 256 potential targets at once within a 16km range – prioritising the most urgent threats within seconds.

More than a dozen new AH-64E Apache, one of the most advanced attack helicopters in the world, are undergoing test flights with the British Army.

The helicopters have improved sensors and lethality, upgraded weapons systems and heightened communications compared to the Mark 1 Apache.

They also boast a top speed of 186mph (300kmh) and can detect 256 potential targets at once within a 16km range – prioritising the most urgent threats within seconds.

Lieutenant General Sir Chris Tickell, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, said he was "delighted" the new Apache had been introduced to the British Army.

"Within Future Soldier, we committed to winning the deep battle so that the close battle is as anti-climactic as possible, thereby reducing the risk to our people," he said.

Watch: Apache vs Wildcat: On exercise with Army's new 1st Aviation Brigade in August 2021.

"The AH-64E is a truly world-beating capability that will, alongside other capabilities we are introducing, ensure we succeed."

Wattisham Flying Station in Suffolk took delivery of 14 of the new aircraft in recent months, with 36 more due to arrive by summer 2024.

It is anticipated the helicopters are expected to enter operational capability early next year.

The British Army has been using Apache helicopters since 2005 and have been used in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

Jeremy Quin, Defence Procurement Minister, said "there can be no doubt" the new helicopters will "help the Army sustain its battle-winning capabilities" in the future.

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