Army To Convert 96 More AH-64As to Longbow
The U.S. Army is delaying the Block III upgrades for the Apache AH-64D Longbow, but will convert an additional 96 AH-64As to AH-64Ds. The conversion program is intended to flow AH-64D models to three Army National Guard battalions and a single regimental aviation squadron, according to Paul Bogosian, the Army's aviation program executive officer. The aircraft will be converted to the Lot 7, Block II standard, probably under a one-year contract with Boeing with an option on a second year. Boeing already is working under a $2.3-billion contract to convert 259 AH-64As to the Longbow version. Deliveries of the additional 96 aircraft are expected to be completed during 2007-09.
The delay in the Block III upgrades has been identified as sliding deliveries from the end of this decade to the beginning of the next decade. The technological upgrades include areas such as new transmission, core processing capability, interconnectivity with unmanned aerial vehicles and enhanced self-protection capabilities.