Boeing Defense, Space & Security will be named soon as the supplier of AH-64 Apache helicopters to the U.K. Ministry of Defense, according to unconfirmed reports in Britain. The contract for 50 new helicopters would be worth about $2.92 billion, and would include extended maintenance services for the aircraft.
The report indicated Boeing Defense would add the helicopters to a larger order for Apaches to be supplied to the U.S. Army.
The AH-64 Apache is an attack helicopter with a twin-turbo shaft engine, a tail wheel landing gear arrangement, and a tandem cockpit for a two-man crew. It has a sensor package mounted at the nose of the aircraft, for target acquisition, and night vision systems, supporting a 30-mm (1.18 in) gun mounted under the aircraft's forward fuselage. It usually is armed with a mix of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and Hydra 70 rocket.
Whereas most models of the AH-64 are powered by engines developed and supplied by GE Aviation, the British Army Air Corps has operated a version built under contract by AugustaWelland and featuring engines built by Rolls-Royce. Other changes include to the basic design include a folding blade mechanism, which allows British forces to operate the helicopters from ships.
The report in Britain’s The Telegraph newspaper included a comment from a Ministry of Defence spokeswoman that its Apache program is “in its assessment phase,” and that a decision would be announced “by this summer.”