Less than three months after U.S. Army representatives announced that the former “Apache Block III” attack helicopter would be re-designated as the AH-64 “Echo,” the service has officially tied a nickname to the alpha-numeric designation.
On Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, representatives from the U.S. Army’s Apache Project Office informed Boeing Company representatives of the new service nickname for the AH-64E will be “Guardian.” The announcement was made during the Team Apache annual government-industry meeting at the Boeing facility in Arlington, Va.
The new nickname was one of several hundred suggestions submitted in a “contest” environment to name the new aircraft.
The winning nickname was reportedly submitted by Ms. Gina Gill, a Logistics Management Specialist from the Aviation and Missile Command Logistics Center. Her nickname justification stated:
“Although the Apache is known as the deadliest helicopter it is much more. The Apache functions as a safeguard for our soldiers on the ground. It seeks and eliminates threats that would otherwise be undetectable and/or indestructible allowing our troops to complete their missions. The Apache is our soldiers’ guardian in the sky.”
“Reflecting on this nickname process, you sometimes don’t realize the amount of passion that people put into these names,” said Project Manager for Apache Attack Helicopters Col. Jeffrey Hager. “For many, this is their livelihood, and you’ve just given them an opportunity to nickname the new Apache helicopter.”
With the retirement of the last “Alpha” model Apache in July 2012, the U.S. Army fleet will comprise a mix of AH-64D Longbow and AH-64E Guardian aircraft.