MESA, Ariz., July 12 (UPI) -- Boeing says it has received the first 10 fuselages by Korea Aerospace Industries for use on AH-64D Apache Block III attack helicopters.
"KAI has been a key part of our ongoing effort to keep the Apache relevant and ahead of the competition," said Bill Elder, Boeing regional manager, Northeast Asia, Attack Helicopters Business Development. "The Apache's role has dramatically changed over the years, and it is vital for Boeing to give its customers the capabilities they need in a package that will perform for many years to come."
The new fuselage, specifically designed for the helicopter, features a number of modifications to accommodate Block III configuration changes, including extended forward avionics bays and slots for new electronics.
Boeing said the U.S. Army is looking to acquire 690 of the Block III aircraft and that the initial low-rate production order is for 50.
Defense forces of other countries have also contracted for the AH-64D Apache Block III or are considering them, Boeing added.
"KAI began producing fuselages for the world's most advanced combat helicopter nearly a decade ago at its facility in Sacheon," said Pat Gaines, president of Boeing Korea. "Today more than 1,000 AH-64D Apaches are in service, in production or under contract with 12 customers worldwide."