British AH-64E Apache helicopters will be armed with the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) in addition to Hellfire missiles.
The information came to light after a written question was submitted in Parliament.
Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham, asked via a written Parliamentary question:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what air-to-ground missile will UK Army Air Corps Apache AH-64E aircraft be equipped with.”
Jeremy Quin, Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, replied:
“The Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) for the new AH-64E Future Attack Helicopter has been selected. This missile is designed for helicopter use and is already integrated within the aircraft, simulators and mission planning systems. In addition to JAGM, the Hellfire K1 and Hellfire Romeo missiles will also be fully qualified and integrated onto the aircraft.”
According to the British Army website, the new and upgraded AH-64E will deliver a significant enhancement to the UK’s 1st Aviation Brigade which operates a previous variant of Apache.
“The fleet of AH-64E Version 6 aircraft, the most advanced variant of Apache, have been procured from the United States to replace the Apache AH Mark 1, which reaches its Out of Service Date in 2024. These Boeing built new aircraft will enable the UK to maintain its battle-winning Attack Helicopter capability for decades to come thanks to its improved digital capability. The new aircraft is already in service with the US Army and other defence forces and has been designed and equipped to offer common configuration.
First UK flying is anticipated to commence in July 2021. Initially, this will be focussed on trials activity and then on developing instructional techniques to safely manage aircrew transition from Mark 1 to E-model. The focus will then change to the full rate conversion training of 3 Regiment Army Air Corps (3AAC). Prior to commencement of flying, the full Air System Safety Case will be rigorously tested to ensure it can support safe flying. This will include Quality Assurance and airworthiness tasks by 7 Bn, plus certification by the UK Military Aviation Authority, assurance of aircraft documentation, simulators, training and instructors.”
AH-64E will deliver a significant enhancement to the UK’s 1st Aviation Brigade.
Major General Jez Bennett, Director Capability, said:
“The arrival of the first Apache E Model Attack Helicopter to be delivered to the British Army over the next two years marks the beginning of a significant uplift in capability to enhance the Army’s contribution across the spectrum of military operations. From supporting hostage rescue missions, to countering an adversaries’ anti-access, area denial platforms, the Apache E outstrips the outgoing Mark 1 aircraft by increased platform digitalisation, improved weapons and avionics, and the ability to use the latest and future technology to enable teaming with semi-autonomous systems such as UASs.”
The UK has ordered 50 of the new Apache AH-64Es to replace the older AgustaWestland Apache AH1.