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British AH-64E Apaches to receive Leonardo defensive aids suite

Leonardo has announced, at the FIDAE exhibition in Chile (3-8 April), that it has been contracted by the UK Ministry of Defence to provide a defensive aids suite (DAS) for the British Army’s new fleet of AH-64E Apache helicopters.

British AH 64E Apaches to receive Leonardo defensive aids suite An Army Air Corps Apache of the Apache Attack Helicopter Display Team thrills the crowds at the RAF Cosford airshow (Credit: Crown Copyright)

Every Apache AH-64E that comes off the production line, regardless of its end user, already has a built-in Leonardo defensive aids suite computer, known as an ‘AGP’ (Aircraft Gateway Processor).

This project will see Leonardo take the UK’s Apache defensive aids suite a step further by integrating a number of sensors and countermeasure systems onto the AH-64E to enhance its situational awareness and survivability.

The helicopters’ sensor fit will include Leonardo’s SG200-D radar warning receiver (the UK-specific variant of the company’s SEER family) and will re-use a number of systems that are currently on-board the Army’s fleet of Apache AH Mk1. These re-used sensors and effectors include Leonardo’s S1223 laser warning receiver, the BAE Systems AN/AAR-57 missile approach warner and the Thales Vicon countermeasure dispensing system.

Initially these systems will be taken from spares stores and the remainder will become available when the AH Mk1s retire from service in 2023/24. This means that the British Army will experience a seamless transition to the new helicopter type with both old and new models being equipped with integrated protective suites on operations.

Integration will be conducted by Leonardo in Luton and the complete system will then be installed by Boeing on its AH-64E production line in the United States. All 50 helicopters being procured by the UK MoD will be capable of operating with the integrated defensive aids suite.