By —By Andrew Drwiega, International Bureau Chief | March 1, 2014
Boeing Vertical Lift delivered 15 percent more helicopters in 2013 than in the previous year, according to Leanne Caret, vice president and general manager for vertical lift programs. She reported on the manufacturer’s progress in January during a media gathering following the annual Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) Army Aviation Symposium and Exposition in Washington, D.C.
Pat Donnelly, Joint Multi-Role (JMR) program director, said 50 Boeing employees were now based with Sikorsky in Connecticut and that the team was bonding as the JMR team.
He said that the next milestone for the program would be the initial design and risk reduction view in June. “We are working in the wind tunnel now validating the design for 230 knots,” said Donnelly. The JMR team is now using a motion-based simulator and first flight of the demonstrator aircraft is still scheduled for 2017.
A relatively small problem with the new AH-64E’s transmission was identified then fixed over the festive period in December, explained David Koopersmith, vice president of attack helicopter programs.
“A planetary ‘nut’ came loose in the transmission on an Echo model in December during a ground run,” he said.
“We brought the transmission back, saw what was loose – did analysis – and came up with a fix.” He explained that it was a threaded item that came loose – of which there are five in the transmission. “We added two parts and one bolt so that it can never come loose again. The fix takes a day and a half and only affects the delivered AH-64E models in two Army units. These are the 1-229th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion (ARB) – the first unit equipped with AH-64E Guardian – and the still to be completed 1-25th ARB.
No other versions of the Apache are affected.
A noteworthy point of interest is that the Apache AH-64 has now flown over one million combat hours in a global total of 3.8 million hours flown.