Boeing Defense, Space & Security has a new, $3.4-billion contract award by the U.S. Department of Defense to supply the U.S. Army with 244 remanufactured AH-64E Apache helicopters. The same award also assigns to Boeing an order for 24 new Apaches, to be supplied to an unnamed foreign customer. Among the foreign operators of the Apache are the Egyptian Air Force, the Israeli Air Force, and the Royal Netherlands Air Force.
Last spring it was reported that Boeing Defense had drawn a $2.92-billion contract from the U.K. Ministry of Defence to supply 50 new AH-64s, plus extended maintenance services for the aircraft.
According to Boeing, the five-year contract makes the latest version of the Apache available to the U.S. Army at “significant savings to taxpayers.”
It also noted this will be the first multi-year agreement for the Apache “E” variant, which was introduced in 2011 and offers improved digital connectivity, more powerful T700-GE-701D engines, capability to control unmanned aerial vehicle (i.e., “drones”), and improved landing gear, among other improvements.
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.
U.S. Army Col. Joseph Hoecherl, the Apache project manager, commented that the Boeing contract results from “the professional dedication and diligent efforts by government and industry teammates to provide the much needed capabilities of the world's best attack helicopter - the AH-64E Apache - at a fair and affordable price that results in year over year savings to the taxpayer."