AUSA: The Army has scheduled a news conference for Wednesday to announce that from that day on, the Block III version of Boeing Co.’s AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter will instead be designated the AH-64E. Program officials will make the announcement at this year’s annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army, the largest yearly meeting of top service and industry officials.

The Army decided to replace “AH-64D Block III” with “AH-64E” after the Defense Acquisition Board, a high-level Pentagon committee, approved full rate production in August. The Army, which plans to buy 690 AH-64Es, decided the new designation is warranted because the soon-to-be “Echo” model of the Apache has so much more capability than the AH-64D Block I’s and Block II’s it’s replacing, the first of which came into service in 1997. Keep reading →

Washington: The Army uses Native American tribe names as nicknames for its helicopters – Black Hawk, Kiowa Warrior and Lakota, for instance — but Boeing Co. officials at the Association of the United States Army’s annual convention in Washington are joshing that the service may want to start calling the company’s AH-64D Apache attack helicopter by the name the Taliban uses.

“The Monster is here!” a Taliban lookout shrieked over the radio to fighters in a valley below a few months ago as an Apache arrived on the scene to help U.S. troops battle the insurgents. “The Monster is above my head now! Do not move or you will die!” The lookout’s breathless alarm — intercepted and translated by U.S. forces during the battle — was reported to Boeing by the commander of the 1st Battalion of the 101st Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division during a recent visit to the company’s Apache plant in Mesa, Ariz., company marketer Mike Burke told Breaking Defense during the Association of the US Army’s annual conference. Keep reading →