Defence Minister Stuart Andrew has announced a £293 million contract with Leonardo Helicopters to maintain the UK’s Apache helicopter fleet for the last 5 years of their service.

The Apache AH MK1 Integrated Operational Support contract will maintain the fleet until it’s out of service date in March 2024, say the Ministry of Defence.

The Apache MK1 is to be replaced by the Apache AH-64E which will begin entering service with the British Army in 2022.

Defence Minister Stuart Andrew said:

“The Apache has provided years of crucial battlefield support to UK and coalition troops in operations in Libya and Afghanistan. This multi-million-pound contract will ensure our Armed Forces continue to benefit from this vital capability as we integrate the latest Apache model into service in 2022.”

According to a news release:

“This contract reaffirms the MOD’s committed investment in Leonardo’s Yeovil site. Last May, the MOD announced the delivery of the first Commando Merlin Mk4 helicopters designed for Royal Marine aircraft carrier operations. This saw the fruition of a £388 million contract supporting 175 skilled jobs in Yeovil and a further 500 across the UK supply chain. The MOD also provides Leonardo with the £271 million Wildcat support and training contract securing 500 jobs in Yeovil.”

Director Helicopters at Defence Equipment and Support, the MoD’s procurement agency, Graham Russell said:

“This latest multi-million-pound investment in the existing Apache fleet not only demonstrates our positive collaboration with industry in achieving value for money, but also ensures that these battle-proven helicopters remain in-service and readily available for the British Army until their out of service date.”

61 COMMENTS

    • To be fair I think the Army does least well when it comes to equipment spending. I can’t back that up with stats – just based on what I seee/read.

    • It does seem an awful lot of money for a few years upkeep. A bit like the price we are paying for the new chinnocks, I think I worked it out at nearly £200 million per unit. Everything helicopter related seems to carry an eye watering £ total next to it.

  1. The Apache Es are new build, so what is going to happen to the Mk1s? I haven’t seen any news on them being sold on and the airframes do not have a fatigue life, so could be refurbished if required.

    • I think the Refurb price was double the New build from Boeing. I would hope they will store the MK1’s just In case.

      • It makes no sense to spend money storing what will be different aircraft to the new AH-64E. They will have different training and maintenance requirements to the older Apache AH1.

        They will no doubt be put through a ‘Reduced to Produce’ (RTP) programme to claw back as many useful spares as possible. There might be some argument keeping a few bare airframes for future use in case an AH-64E is damaged beyond repair.

        The contract has also been modified so they are not entirely new build with the first 38 at least will be built from remanufactured AH1. Two airframes have already been sent to the US to be parted out as part of the Apache ‘Capability Sustainment Programme’ (CSP).

        • From that point of View I Agree but, I worry that we have so little in the way of Reserves bearing In Mind the Time it takes to Manufacture these.
          It’s all been a bit of a mess really, to my mind.

          • It’s all well and good having reserve airframes, but what’s the point if we don’t keep reserve aircrew and engineer’s. It’s just a pointless waste of money that could be spent on something more important.

          • Robert, Yes I Hear what you are saying, Maybe You should Hear what I am too. My Point is that, we have very few Assets and They get fewer and Fewer all the time. it’s a constant and relentless Reduction that’s been going on for Decades now. Cut’s Cut’s and more bloody Cut’s. It takes far less time to train Aircrew and Engineers than It does to Design and Build a new Attack Helicopter. We Have reduced from 67 to 50, in a few years, those 50 (If we actually get them all ) will be down to 35 and so it goes on. I’m not sure If We have actually Increased Hardware In any area for Decades now. ???? It’s not just Hellicopters, It’s Everything, Ships, Tanks, Aircraft, Personnel, Bases, Shipyards, the list Is Endless and yet our Population Grows, Threats Too not to mention our new found Expansion back to all corners of the World.
            Excuse my Tone but I’m a passionate sort.

          • I feel your pain with the cuts, but it all has to be paid for, defence equipment is extremely expensive, and we have genually world beating equipment, yes, I would like to see more of it too. But we have to be realistic about what we can afford. ISTAR is an area we have had growth, and helicopters, maybe not in airframe numbers, but defiantly in capability, it’s best to have the right equipment then lots of below average equipment. Air combat capability is massively more capable today, not in numbers, but Typhoon and F35 will be a huge capability. We still have a true blue water navy, an air force and army that can deploy around the world, it’s not all bad news.

          • Christ Robert, You sound like Me !!!! I agree with all of that including Liking to see more.

    • How much would it realistically cost to put them into CHE in Shawbury as a reserve?

      I know there is more chance of Corbyn maintaining defence spending while dancing in a Morris outfit and waving the Union Jack but I feel we get rid of stuff too quickly.

    • They are being stripped of useful parts that can be used on the new builds it was cheaper that way.About 17 stored Mk1s were recently shipped to Leanardo for them to remove parts and send them on to Boeing.

        • Bits like the Longbow radar,optical targeting systems,gun,various parts of the cockpit and other mechanical assemblies.
          The main reason for the U.S. army wanting this new version was a loss of performance due to weight growth.The new version is based around a stronger and lighter air frame,New more power full engines and gearbox, they have added in other capabilities as well why they were at it.

          • Yes the new engines are more powerful than the RR ones we have which were more powerful than the original engines.
            In Afganistan the U.S. apache’s had to remove their longbow radars because of problems with performance at the temperature and altitude while ours were able to retain them.

          • GWM, I thought they were Still less Powerful Truth be Known, but I’ll Bow to your Knowledge.

          • Uh your correct the latest T700 has 2000shp and the RTM322 is 2100.
            They are going to fit the new technology turbine in the future which is a lot more power full.

  2. Leonardo’s are a major employer in Yeovil, Yeovil and the surrounding area has a high percentage of Defence related businesses including Honeywell Systems, BAE systems and Thales, There are many other smaller specialist businesses that are directly Involved with Logistics, packaging and Transportation.
    As an example of the costs Involved, when transporting components, special Boxes, Crates and Containers have to be built to strict Design Criteria, wrapping a Blade in Bubble wrap would be enormously cheaper but It isn’t done like that.

    When all these factors are taken Into account, the Cost’s obviously mount up hence why everything appears to be really Expensive.

    • So what happens oversees where the image seems to be capable and more considerable forces acquired for less? Horse and cart delivery?

      Does that account for 1 billion plus for 62 Wildcat and 300 million dollars for Blackhawks as reported?

      Or are things in the UK really expensive, like worker wages, or maybe dare I suggest it corruption is rife and we are being taken to the cleaners on a wide scale?

      River B2.
      T26 Gun.
      Challenger upgrade.
      Warrior Upgrade.
      GR4 Upgrade.
      Wildcat.
      FSS ( Yes that old caper! )
      Dreadnaught. 40 billion for 4. ( Discussed here before )

      The list is endless if I could be bothered to search for prices of what we buy over the decades.

      Very happy to be corrected or educated on costs of procurement and construction as I admit I have no idea in this area.

      I just see constant lists of gold plated prices for small amounts of kit that does not always replicate itself elsewhere.

      Or, as I have suggested before, the defence budget, which is by no means ungenerous, is aimed primarily not at the UK Military but at providing funds for UK industry.

      • It is true……but a nationstates defence is not just about the people and equipment it has under arms at that time. A nation ability to defence itself works on many levels, failure in one will lead to that nation falling to defeat in the end.

        1) Will and leadership, if the will of a nations leaders fails the nation falls ( historic example, the french third republic).
        2) will of the population and contection between government and governed, (fall of tzarist Russia World War One)
        3) economic, fall of ussr and end of the Cold War
        4) industry, (the defeat of Germany)

        I don’t have a problem with our defence industry being supported, I just think it should be an intrinsic part of the defence budget.

        • Thank you Johnathon.

          Neither do I. Such as with FSS.

          I agree sovereign capability is important I just cannot believe the cost.

          And again,, it just gives further ammunition in my mind that a better balance is needed if we keep going down this route as we will end up with nothing left on the pyre of home built regardless of cost.

          • It’s a dilemma. If a government states all helo’s will be made or maintained in the UK then you can guarantee you’ll pay a premium. But the fact is the UK will never produce the numbers to complete with a US defence contractor like Boeing so we will always pay more. However I do think UK defence manufacturing is behind commercial manufacturing, if you get a nice juicy MoD order why would you bother making efficiency improvements. If the that contract also states the government pay for overruns then all the better, industry is actually being incentivised to be less productive.

      • Yes, I was trying to give a sort of detailed overview/Insight into the Costs as I saw it but unfortunately I kept getting Interrupted at Work so It really didn’t come over the way I had planned. !!!!

        Basically, the way I see It Is, We Pay really well for the Skilled Workers, Lots for the Materials and due to Strict Rules and Working practices, Lots more for Testing, Logistics and Research. More so than many other Countrys.
        Leonardo’s Is a very Popular place to work as the Pay can be a fair bit better than other Manufacturing Companies. They offer 5 year apprenticeships with a Degree at the end whilst getting paid along the Way. A 21 year old with 5 years experience and a Degree in Engineering will find a whole World of Opportunity at his/her feet.
        I have often wondered just why with such a Large Military Budget, we actually have so little to show for It but We seem to have to pay more In comparison and then we Scrap of Sell It all off after a relatively short time (again, In comparison).

        • Did I say that Robert?

          Almost every bit of home resourced equipment meets the same response of wide eyed open mouthed shock at how much things cost.

          France and Japan for example must do things better.

          • France manage to build their own Ships, Subs, Nuclear Missiles, aircraft, Tanks, Guns and virtually everything else. You have a point Daniele.

        • Big And Expensive Systems may be a British company but what do they build here?

          The Germans, French, and Italians produce their own armoured vehicles and naval systems. The Italians and Germans can even supply you with a rifle. The French build their own fighter as do the Swedes. We build a bit of one and invest a lot in systems while the Germans and Spanish build the lions’s share. We don’t even buy the things we do make here – I think the RN’s foul weather gear comes from Germany even though Crewsaver a UK company are world leaders.

          We do spend a lot on training, but even that’s slowly being whittled away. But when we do buy anything we do pay over the odds and as we know sometimes for crap.

          Couple of reasons……..
          1) We did too much for NATO across too wide a portfolio. We were the only European NATO power to do everything: navy, air fore, nukes, and army. Where as the Germans concentrated mostly on army and air power and used it to churn money through their economy. Where we had to police the draw down of empire and associated commitments
          all the Germans had to was to look to Europe; same with our air force. The French as we know ran away. They some awful kit but they were more concerned with their overseas possessions than fighting in Europe. Both their army and navy ended up in hi-lo mix. And because……
          2) Our political system is a bit odd. Where as France and Germany used to do what was always the best for France and Germany the UK has parties that tend to put themselves first. Labour defence spending used to be centred on metal bashing. The Tories preferred to focus on clever kit but hated paying for it. This is where FFBNW comes from. Through in constant messing with industry and we end up where we are today. Take aircraft. Look how Tories went for clever kit (Sandys 57) and the Labour messed about the industry, then look at an ever changing defence outlook and hey presto we end up with a mess. Then on top our government became obsessed with collobrotive projects with Europe. These projects often ended up with us paying large amounts, giving up tech. and then not ending up with much of the work. But you have to remember we are the bad Europeans, where as good Europeans like the French build their own planes. And then projects we should have stopped in, like Boxer, we leave. Then we had the end of the Cold War and President Blair’s ambitions……………

          If the government can’t define the country’s security interests, the two main parties can settle on a shared approach to procurement, and the forces have to plan for too much on a slim budget then you can see we are where we are.

          • I am not your son and I have absolutely idea what you mean by ‘you are still owned’. Last time I checked, my property deeds remain in my name, the company is still in my name, the car is in my name and my savings and investments are in my name. I think you may need medical help which can easily be accessed by dialling 111 or 112 in emergencies. They will also be a first point of call for mental illness which appears to be relevant in your case.

          • Like I said on your previous gibberish childlike troll posts, every time you post and answer, it means you have been owned. You waffle, we laugh and reply, and due to your inability to not have the last word, you have to respond with more chuff. And as we know it and expect it, you are owned. I await your chuff riddled reply son. And methinks the local authrority more than likley has the deeds to your house son. Next?

  3. It’s a crumb to keep that sovereign capability ticking over.

    What they need to do is order the replacement medium lift rotor and secure the AW149 production line. Leonardo have promised to move the production line from Italy to the UK if the MOD order the 149 that’s one hell of a production and value offset.

  4. @ TH

    Bless. You don’t know what I pay or what I do you? I have more than paid way both in terms of time, treasure, and effort for this country.

    I wonder what you don’t do TH?

    • My accountant ensures that I pay my taxes correctly. I make voluntary contributions to support the campaign for an independent Scotland.

      • Well I didn’t get a vote or you would already be independent and paying lots of lovely tax.

        I am not sure that paying into for funds for a political campaign is the same as paying taxes.

        But obviously you know better………

        • I’ve heard this before, a referendum for the English about Scotland.

          Would be interesting.

          If another happens I will be waiting with popcorn for it to be delayed, fudged, denied, argued it is racist, and none of the Scots know what they are voting for, why they did it, and can we have another referendum to “vote again” a 3rd time.

          Sound familiar?

          • Yup. Except, They ( Tartan Blood withstanding ) have the Monopoly on Ship Building and Nuclear Sub Bases, It’s so unfair.

          • Spot on mate, but expect some gibberish reply from our tame SNP lip flapper. I know i shouldnt reply to his troll like piffle, but his replies are so funny and childlike it’s hard not to bait the fool.

          • They all want devolution and independence as long as the English pay for it.

            Scottish devolution vote had a 60% turnout. Of registered voters only 44% voted for devolution.

            The turnout for Welsh devolution vote turnout was 50% and only about 25% of registered voters voted for devolution.

            The Irish Republic can’t afford Northern Ireland. My fear is if everything goes wrong the North will join the South but we English carry on to pay for it.

          • Captain this is another of my list of worries.

            Just what the military would lose and the cost of replicating it.

          • mans ov Scatland is funies, whares Womans scirt blo big bagg ov dead hingis too make aminals skweellie noyse an consumate awefull internals in bag ov testine wiv tits an nappys.

        • Right then, Getting the hang of this now.
          Men of Scotland ( Scatland ) are funny. They wear Kilts,( skirts ) Play the Bagpipes which are made of dead Haggis ( are they, I didn’t know that ) and make Music. Consume, ( Eat ) Offal, being the “Internals” of said Haggis, and they have it with Neeps ( tits ) and Tatties ( nappys ). Either way, He talks a lot more sense than TH. !

      • See TH, you cannot resist the effort at getting in the last word, even though your initial comment is similar to a troll like child, wanting people to respond. And son, the bar staff at JD Wetherspoons aren’t accountants.

      • TH
        Somehow I doubt you have ever made enough money to pay taxes, much less enough to justify a accountant. Even if you did I doubt a selfish, unpatriotic, little ingrate such as your self would ever donate money to anything. Not even if it was to undermine your country and fellow citizen both of which you clearly despise.

  5. Their Is and has been a really worrying trend though, when you think about It. Scottish Names In high Places and no Military Shipyards left south of the Border. Hmmmmmm Is It just Me ?

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