The new Apache AH-64E attack helicopters operated by the British Army are to be armed with the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) and Hellfire, only Hellfire has been purchased so far with no date planned for a JAGM purchase.
In 2020, the first two of fifty new Apache AH-64E attack helicopters have been delivered to the British Army.
What’s the difference between the older Apache and the new AH-64E version?
“New engines, drivetrain, main rotor blades and avionics will deliver a significant boost in aircraft performance. Embedded system-level diagnostics will increase aircraft availability. Extended range Fire Control Radar with maritime mode will ensure the aircraft can operate in the maritime environment. Link 16, Mode 5 Identification Friend or Foe and, in time, Manned-Unmanned Teaming bring theatre entry-standard equipment fits and vastly increase crew battle-space awareness.”
What missiles are British Apache AH-64E helicopters supposed to have?
According to Jeremy Quin last year:
“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.”
What do they have?
Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham, asked:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether the purchase of the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile to furnish the UK’s newly-purchased AH-64Es was made as part of (a) the same agreement to buy the platform or (b) through a separate agreement.”
Jeremy Quin, Minister for Defence Procurement, responded by stating that the UK has not yet purchased missiles to be used in an operational setting:
“The Ministry of Defence has not yet committed to a stockpile purchase of Joint Air to Ground Missiles. Any future procurement will be through a new Foreign Military Sales mechanism with the US Government.”
I’ve said “operational setting” above because the UK previously purchased a small number to support trials according to a previous statement from Quin:
“The delivery date for the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile has not yet been determined. To date, a very small quantity of missiles have however been procured to support technical assessments and trials, to enable clearance of the weapon on the Apache AH-64E helicopter. I am withholding information about the cost paid for a single missile as its disclosure would prejudice commercial interests.”
It should be noted that while the UK has not purchased any JAGM missiles to be used operationally, it has however purchased Hellfire missiles.
Quin said in June last year:
“The Ministry of Defence has procured a number of Hellfire Missiles (of different variants) from the United States Government for the Apache Mk1 system and is now in the process of procuring additional missiles for the new Apache 64E platform. Some of the existing Hellfire missiles procured for the Mk1 variant are being cleared for use on the new helicopter. I unable to share the quantities, variants and costs of Hellfire missiles procured, as to do so could prejudice the capability, effectiveness and security of the Armed Forces.”
It’s likely that purchases will be made as the platform matures in British service.