WSU collaboration will move Army Aviation into the future with Apache modernization

The U.S. Army Aviation enterprise is collaborating with Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) to develop an AH-64 Apache Digital Twin in a contract that kicked off with a ribbon-cutting event on campus.

The Apache Digital Twin program follows the UH-60 Black Hawk Digital Twin, which involves the disassembly and scanning of an existing helicopter to create 3D models. It’s a tedious process but one that is necessary to continue moving the aviation enterprise from its current 2D document-driven engineering practices to the institutionalized use of modern 3D digital engineering practices, to supporting the transition to Future Vertical Lift’s entirely digital design, and to sustaining the enduring fleet.

“We have to speed up the Army’s transition to 3D digital engineering practices,” said Maj. Gen. Walter “Wally” Rugen, director for the Future Vertical Lift Cross-Functional Team. “The aviation enterprise needs to start now establishing the processes, tools, and training methods required to transition and cultivate a relevant workforce from the industrial age to the digital era.”