Boeing Apache helicopter surpasses 5 million flight hours in 2023

The AH-64 Apache Helicopter produced by Boeing has reached 5 million flight hours in 2023, proving the helicopter’s versatility and reliability for the U.S. Army after nearly four decades of continuous service. 

The Apache has been built by Boeing in Mesa since its first flight in 1984. Over the last few decades, the U.S. has deployed the A, D, and E-models around the globe as a vital asset to the United States’ combat operations.

Five million flight hours roughly equates to more than 208,000 days or nearly 571 years of nonstop flying. More than one million of those flight hours occurred during combat missions. 

“With more than five million flight hours, the Apache continues to be reliable, versatile and lethal,” said Katie Yursky, the interim vice president of attack helicopter programs and a senior executive at Boeing’s Mesa site. “Congratulations to the U.S. Army and its Apache aviators on reaching this incredible milestone. Every hour counts, and we look forward to supporting our soldiers on their next milestone and beyond.”

Despite turning 40 next year, neither Boeing or the U.S. has any plans to move on from the Apache anytime soon. In fact, the company is currently installing upgrades to the E-model that include updated software and an improved engine. Additionally, Boeing announced in October 2022 that the company is developing a modernized Apache concept to meet “the Army’s evolving attack and reconnaissance requirements — including increased agility, interoperability, lethality, survivability and reach.” 

The new model will not only improve the Apache’s attack capabilities, it will also employ advanced digital technology as part of the company’s push towards digital innovation.

Since Boeing opened its manufacturing plant in Mesa in 1982, the company has brought jobs and economic growth to Arizona. As of 2021, the plant employed more than 4,400 workers at its Mesa plant, making Boeing the third-largest manufacturer in the Phoenix valley. Additionally, Boeing relies on nearly 350 Arizona businesses that act as vendors and suppliers.

Boeing’s presence in the state only continues to grow with the company recently completing construction on a 155,000-square-foot expansion to the Mesa plant. The new space will be used to produce materials for Boeing’s next generation of military aircraft. 

“The new advanced composite fabrication center and the factories that will follow it position Boeing to deliver the most digitally advanced, simply and efficiently produced and intelligently supported aircraft to military customers,” Boeing Defense, Space and Security President and CEO Ted Colbert said.

Nick Guptil

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