British Army's new E model Apache attack helicopter declared operational

A new Apache AH-64 attack helicopter is headed for the British Army, offering a full-colour, bigger picture of the battlefield and improved ways of affecting it.

This newly operational E model has a top speed of 186 mph, a new software overhaul to allow for greater target acquisition and is expecting new 'Romeo' variant Hellfire missiles.

Fifty of the new models are set to join the Army by 2025, with nearly £300m invested in the first delivery of the aircraft so far.

Watch: Why the Army's new Attack Apache matters.

The Apache AH-64 has long been the world's most advanced attack helicopter, serving the UK military over Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The latest model looks similar to its Mark 1 predecessor and handles similarly too, despite new blades and American engines.

"It's all about the software and the changes on the inside," said Major Olly Snell, Officer Commanding 653 Squadron.

The co-pilot gunner in the front can now see the ground below in full colour, to improve communication with troops, he added.

"We can pick out things such as number plates because we've got this picture-in-picture, which means we can continue to look at the bigger picture but also have a small, stepped-in field of view on a certain item if we need to."

The new Apache can detect 250 targets at once, from 10 miles away, and also carries the same 30mm cannon.

Watch: When an Apache Top Gun hands over the controls.

At the Army Aviation Centre in Hampshire's Middle Wallop, where personnel are learning to fly the aircraft, Major Paul Whatnell, Officer Commanding 673 Squadron, described a more effective attack helicopter now under Army control.

"We've got the Hellfire Romeo variant, with the multi-seeker warhead, and we've also got the Joint Air-Ground Missile.

"That's just going to increase that reach and lethality once more."

Maj Whatnell, who flies the helicopter says "it's a pretty incredible machine" with less limiting factors "to let us do our job".

Related topics

Join Our Newsletter


Veteran Adam Diver plunges into Guinness World Records with 46-mile swim

Hero ex-Gurkha reveals what kept him going as oxygen ran down on Everest

Military community marks Scottish War Memorial and D-Day anniversary