UK AH-64E Apache Guardian

The UK has requested that Boeing upgrade 50 of it's Westland AH-64D Attack Helicopters to the AH-64E Guardian configuration costing $3 Billion sale

Decisions made, West Country lobbyists rebuffed and requests sent;

WASHINGTON, Aug 27, 2015 – The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the United Kingdom for AH-64E APACHE GUARDIAN Attack Helicopters and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of $3.00 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on August 26, 2015.

The Government of the United Kingdom has requested the remanufacture of fifty (50) United Kingdom (UK) WAH-64 Mk 1 Attack Helicopters to AH-64E Apache Guardian Helicopters with one hundred and ten (110) T-700-GE-701D Engines (100 installed and 10 spares), the refurbishment of fifty-three (53) AN/ASQ-170 Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation Sights (M-TADS) (50 installed and 3 spares), the refurbishment of fifty-three (53) AN/AAR-11 Modernized Pilot Night Vision Sensors (PNVS) (50 installed and 3 spares), the refurbishment of fifty-two (52) AN/APG-78 Fire Control Radars (FCR) (50 installed and 2 spares) with fifty-five (55) Radar Electronics Units (Longbow Component) (50 installed and 5 spares), fifty-two (52) AN/APR-48B Modernized Radar Frequency Interferometers (50 installed and 2 spares), sixty (60) AAR-57(V) 3/5 Common Missile Warning Systems (CMWS) with 5th Sensor and Improved Countermeasure Dispenser (50 installed and 10 spares), one hundred and twenty (120) Embedded Global Positioning Systems (GPS) with Inertial Navigation (100 installed and 20 spares), and three hundred (300) Apache Aviator Integrated Helmets.

Also included are AN/AVR-2B Laser Detecting Sets, AN/APR-39D(V)2 Radar Signal Detecting Sets, Integrated Helmet and Display Sight Systems (IHDSS-21), Manned-Unmanned Teaming International (MUMT-I), KOR-24A Link 16 terminals, M206 infrared countermeasure flares, M211 and M212 Advanced Infrared Countermeasure Munitions (AIRCMM) flares, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) transponders, ammunition, communication equipment, tools and test equipment, training devices, simulators, generators, transportation, wheeled vehicles, organizational equipment, spare and repair parts, support equipment, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $3.00 billion.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic progress around the world. The upgrade and refurbishment of these helicopters will allow the United Kingdom greater interoperability with U.S. forces.

The proposed sale provides the Government of the United Kingdom with assets vital to deter and defend against potential threats. The United Kingdom will use the Apache helicopters to conduct various missions, including counter-terrorism and counter-piracy operations. The materiel and services under this program will enable the United Kingdom to become a more capable defensive force and will also provide key elements required for interoperability with U.S. forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The prime contractors will be The Boeing Company in Mesa, Arizona; Lockheed Martin Corporation in Orlando, Florida; General Electric Company in Cincinnati, Ohio; Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training in Owego, New York; and Longbow Limited Liability Corporation in Orlando, Florida. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale may require the assignment of six (6) U.S. contractor representatives in country full-time for up to sixty (60) months for equipment checkout, fielding, and technical support.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale. This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded. All questions regarding this proposed Foreign Military Sale should be directed to the State Department’s Bureau of Political Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs, -30-

There you go, watch a few videos

Now when it comes to comparing one nation’s costs to another the road is full of potholes, dead end’s and wrong turns but just for comparison it is interesting to compare notes.

  • The Selected Acquisition Report (SAR) from the US Department of Defense is at this link.
  • The Budget Data Report is at this link.
  • A recent contract award notice is at this link.

On this last link, the US Army ordered 82 AH-64E for $1.2 Billion which included 72 remanufactured and 10 new.

The Budget Data Report shows the unit cost hovering between $19 million and $21 million (see what I did there)

The Foreign Military Sale request includes initial logistic support and various extras like additional engines, consumables, simulators and interestingly, ‘wheeled vehicles’, which I assume are missile loaders. Will be interesting see this unfold (see what I did there again), especially with regards to ‘marinisation’ and shipboard suitability because the Apache is going to have to compensate for reduced F-35B numbers.

Just under two billion quid doesn’t seem all that high for the capability, with all those extras thrown in.

50 is less than we have now but compared to other force sizes reduction is actually a smaller in comparison, certainly smaller than the percentage reduction in heavy armour. The only thing that worries me about this is in an equipment sense, is its effect on our ancient vehicle fleet upgrade programme, cash being a finite commodity.

It is also a shame for Westland’s but one can see the logic, all those former Royal Navy, Army Air Corps and Royal Air Force senior officers in ‘business development’ roles at AW might be getting a bit nervous now. Rolls Royce no longer have a stake in the RTM232 engine that equipped the WAH-64.

The request would also seem to indicate a change in DAS from the Selex HIDAS to the BAE AAR-57(V) 3/5 Common Missile Warning Systems (CMWS). If you go back into the TD archives to here, a look at the MoD’s Common Defensive Aids System  (CDAS) project, wonder where that is going now, given that this request would seem to fly in the face of commonality?

An interesting video on CDAS


Finally, a request is not a contract or Main Gate decision, might have to wait until the Yeovil Fat Lady has sung

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