The House Armed Services Committee is requesting information from the Army about how it plans to modernize the AH-64 Apache to ensure it remains relevant for at least another 30 years, according to an early version of the annual defense policy bill.
In a draft of Rep. Adam Smith’s (D-WA) “chairman’s mark,” obtained by Inside Defense, the committee lauded the Army for executing an “effective and affordable” Apache modernization strategy since the first Apaches were delivered in 1984 but said it is “concerned about the lack of a future modernization strategy for Apache.”
According to the mark, the helicopter “will continue to serve as the Army’s principal attack helicopter until the year 2050 and beyond.” But the Army plans to purchase its last batch of Apaches in 2025 and lacks a “comprehensive, budgeted plan to modernize the aircraft over the next 30 years.”
The Army would by Dec. 20 provide a briefing to the House Armed Services Committee about “a plan to ensure AH-64 Apache relevancy for the remainder of its service life," the draft legislation states.
The Army is developing the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft, which it anticipates will take over some of the scout helicopter functions the Apache has taken on as other programs have failed to fill that role. The Apache will retain its attack function, Army officials have said.