The battlefield may be in a warzone, but for Apache helicopter pilots, a new threat emerged – one originating from within their own cockpits.

Safety Issues with Upgraded Generator Force Downgrade

The US Army and Boeing are taking a step back in Apache helicopter technology. They are opting to reinstall older generators after encountering safety issues with a recently upgraded model.

The AH-64E Apache, a mainstay of American attack helicopter forces, experienced a rise in electrical power generator failures in 2023.

These failures, linked to the Honeywell -11 generator variant installed during an upgrade, resulted in “potentially hazardous flight conditions and precautionary landings,” according to Pentagon reports.

The most concerning consequence involved smoke-filling cockpits, creating “breathing and visibility problems” for pilots as reported by a Program Executive Office Aviation spokesman.

Thankfully, no accidents or fleet grounding were reported.

As a temporary solution, the Army implemented a modification that automatically shuts down a failing -11 generator. However, a longer-term fix was necessary.

AH-64E Apache Helicopters flying over the Baumholder Maneuver Training Area, April 17, 2024. (Image source: DVIDS)

Dual Approach: Reintroduction of Older Model and Search for Next-Generation Solution

The solution involves a two-pronged approach.