Poland still had to decide between the AH-1Z Viper and the AH-64 Apache. It is the latter that wins out, since instead of the 32 helicopters planned, the Polish Armed Forces should order no less than 96 AH-64Ev6s. This is the latest version of the Apache, which did not fly until 2020.
Poland had been looking to renew its combat helicopter fleet for some time. The home stretch had been reached in April of this year when Poland officially selected the AH-1Z Viper or the AH-64E Apache as its future combat helicopter.
A total of 32 helicopters, divided into two squadrons, were targeted in the competition. However, as announced by Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak in the attached tweet, the Polish Armed Forces plan to order three times as many combat helicopters from Boeing as planned, 96 AH-64 Apache capable of equipping the equivalent of six squadrons.
Boeing reportedly offered Poland the latest version of the Apache, the AH-64Ev6, which made its first flight in 2020. Improvements include:
- an upgraded daylight package (MDSA), with a laser rangefinder/designator system, a new TV sensor and a laser tracker. These various components are located in the helicopter's nose camera.
- an improved cognitive decision support system.
- upgrades to various software and mission system
- increased interoperability
In fact, this version of the Apache is more efficient because it requires less maintenance and thus can evolve longer during a deployment.
In addition, Boeing also reportedly has the MUM-T (Manned UnManned Teaming) capability on the table. It allows an Apache to use multiple drones in a mission. This is also a very recent capability as the U.S. Army confirmed this capability on October 27, 2020 (link to press release); the pilot of an Apache took control of an RQ-7BV2 Block 3 Shadow UAV to guide a Hellfire fired from an MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAV.
More information (total price, export authorization, ancillary weaponry, etc.) is expected from Boeing and the U.S. Department of Defense once discussions regarding this purchase are concluded with Poland.
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