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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Boeing Completes First AH-64D Test Flights

Boeing's AH-64D Apache Block III program has completed the first flight of its structures test aircraft. The test, conducted Nov. 23 in Mesa, Ariz., demonstrated flight characteristics and handling maneuvers, Boeing said. The program's avionics test aircraft, which made its first flight ahead of schedule in June 2008, completed the Army's Limited User Test according to schedule, in November, at the Yuma (Ariz.) Proving Ground. Block III technologies being tested include the composite main rotor blade, composite horizontal stabilator, and -701D engines, which include an enhanced digital electronic control unit. Tests to continue to expand the helicopter's flight envelope are expected to continue for the next several weeks. "This flight demonstration is another crucial step as the U.S. Army and Boeing work together to meet the objectives of the Apache Block III program," said Col. Shane Openshaw, Army Apache project manager. "The Apache Block III helicopter meets the Army's requirement to sustain the aircraft for its life cycle while providing superior capabilities to Army aviators, battlefield commanders and soldiers." The Army and Boeing continue to work toward an anticipated Department of Defense acquisition process Milestone C decision in April 2010.

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