A contract modification detailed by the US Department of Defense has indicated that Boeing has been awarded $488 million for the re-manufacture of 38 Apache aircraft for the UK.

The UK previously announced it would upgrade 50 helicopters to the latest standard, it has been confirmed that the remaining number of 12 will be included in follow-on work, likely as new build air-frames.

In August 2015, the UK requested through a Foreign Military Sale, the upgrade of 50 of its Apaches to AH-64E standard. In July 2016, the UK placed an order for 50 AH-64Es through the US Foreign Military Sales programme instead of upgrading their AgustaWestland-built AH-64s. Leonardo Helicopters (formerly AgustaWestland) will continue to lead the support the existing Apache AH1s until they are retired from service in 2023–24.

The contract awards notice states:

“The Boeing Co., Mesa, Arizona, was awarded a $488,076,762 modification (P00007) to foreign military sales (United Kingdom) contract W58RGZ-16-C-0023 for the remanufacture of 38 AH-64 Apache aircraft, and to procure three Longbow crew trainers and associated spares.

Work will be performed in Mesa, Arizona, with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2024. Fiscal 2010 other funds in the amount of $488,076,762 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.”

Boeing will perform work in Mesa, Arizona until May 31, 2024.

The AH-64E Guardian features improved digital connectivity, the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System, more powerful T700-GE-701D engines with upgraded face gear transmission to accommodate more power, capability to control unmanned aerial vehicle, full IFR capability and improved landing gear.

The updated Longbow radar has an oversea capacity, potentially enabling naval strikes. The E model is fit for maritime operations, much like the British variant being replaced.


  1. acording to Wikipedia ( theerefore true ) the existing RR engines are more powerful. aligning with the US version is likely more supportable / sustainable but I think the Westland Apache’s have the higher performance engine as it stands.

    • Might be wrong here Jim but I thought they were to be fitted with the latest US engines which produced a similar power to the RR.

      • Indeed, had the power but the transmission/gearboxes meant that power wasn’t able to be used to its full potential.

  2. The RR engines have a better all round capability, are not as susceptible to FOD damage and as I understand are better suited to a wider range of met. conditions.
    This is based on the time spent in Afghanistan and the reports which came back from all operators including the U.S. military

  3. “The UK previously announced it would upgrade 50 helicopters to the latest standard, it has been confirmed that the remaining number of 12 will be included in follow-on work, likely as new build air-frames.”

    Having seen how HMG/MoD behaves I really fear that this is the start of the cuts to fill the rumoured £10-£20bn in the defence budget. Cut the remanufactures from the planned 50 to 38 and then at some point down the line quietly drop the plans for the other 12 as new-builds. The remaining 12 unupgraded Apaches will probably get withdrawn from service as soon as the remanufactured ones arrive on the justification that they are not up to the latest spec and will be shoved in a shed somewhere (like the missing Merlins) and get canabalised for parts and/or left to rust away. I’d love to be proved wrong on this but it really does feel to me like the prelude to a cut in Apache numbers to 38.

    • Time will tell but I fear you are right. I’m not hearing anything out of any party that suggests the budget will change after the election and no one is denying the black hole.

  4. This is sickening news if it is a replacement for the original 50 new helicopters.

    Realistically we should be purchasing 38 + the 50 as these things have been over utilised for years and are real force multipliers.

    Sad day in my opinion and another nail in the coffin of the UK as a creditable force.

    Can anyone tell me what we spend this mythical £178bn on please (over the next 10 years) as it seems to have been £168bn for the previous 10 years you would think we would have some great kit, but the opposite is true.

    To put this into context £178bn would buy us 20 Successor submarines or 150 astutes – or maybe be crazy and have a mix.

    Or 1800 F35b’s, or 50 QE class aircraft carriers (Yes 50). Its not hard to see how this is being mismanaged. when all we want is 2 carriers and lets push the boat out and say 180 F35b’s and 10 Astutes. We can buy everything we need with this budget if it is real – I am of the opinion it is not.

    This is a national disgrace and the government is misleading the public on defence spending

    • @ Pacman27

      Absolutely agree with everyone on this page; just another ‘sweep-it-under-the-carpet-and-hope-no one-notices’ move from HMG.

      I read before (the source escapes me) that only 40% of the 178Bn is actually intended for new kit over the next 10yrs. If true, then that’s 7.1Bn/yr – not a lot in the grand scheme…..

      If I have learned anything it’s that HMG – of whichever party – are experts at fudging defence spending numbers to make them look good when everyone with a keen interest in this area is aware they are absolute and total rubbish. I’m afraid Joe-Public will only know the sad state of our Armed Forces when it comes to the next shooting war and by then it’s too late….

      • @David

        I have done quite a bit of work on the MOD budget and it seems to me the 40% is accurate. They seem to double count infrastructure/facilities and maintenance across all budgets as a bad habit.

  5. Let’s be realistic, our economy is still in a mess, we have massive national debt which is growing and this doesn’t take into account public sector pensions unlike other nations. We simply can’t afford our military right now.

    What bugs me is the politics, if we need cuts say it. Stop trying to make out that we are increasing our capability if we really aren’t. I know the truth can be hard to take by the general public, but they kinda need to understand how bad the economy really is.

    • Steve

      Not sure I agree with you on this – I think 2% is fair, I also think that it is not spent in the way we are being told. Put simply the figures don’t add up.

      Lets assume a £36bn pa defence budget

      RN = £9bn
      Army = 13bn
      RAF = £10bn
      Other = £4bn

      So for £3bn p.a. spent on equipment the RN can have a modern fleet of 75 major vessels renewed every 25 yrs (except carriers)

      Likewise for £3bn the army can have lots of gear and for £5bn the RAF too.

      Instead we have one of the best forces with the worst equipment and force contraction, simply does not make sense to me. It is either total incompetence or the money is not real.

      Even this contract which seems good value for money is seven years away, always Jam tomorrow.

      There is a real opportunity to pump £10-12bn p.a into a post Brexit economy here that is a once in a lifetime opportunity imho and that money will generate income and offset the costs while giving our forces the kit they desperately need.

      I think we are already spending more or less what we should – haven’t a clue how people are spending it.

        • We should understand the NATO game. Jens real goal is to get Germany and France et al to step up to 2% as a first target using U.K. as stick to reach ‘his’ objective. This gives cover to all parties to say 2% is ok. Its not Ok for us because of our geophraphy and now Brexit.

      • The RN should get the lions share of any budget available for the following reasons. 1. We are an island and are completley dependent apon the sea. 2. We are far more likley to deploy the RN and FAA than we are the army or RAF. (cant see large scale ground forces deployed for next decade or 2 unless ww3 kicks off). 3. The army is a dogs breakfast and could not organize a piss up in a brewery (see FRES & strike brigades). 4. The RAF has not shot down an enemy aircraft since ww2. 5. The RN is the most flexible tool in the MOD box.

    • I disagree I think joe public would be happy to stump up an extra couple of pence in the pound tax as long as we knew where it was going I’d say 3p in the pound 1 each for the military the NHS and schools don’t sound a lot but it would give all 3 a massive boost

  6. It would be interesting to see if it is possible to come close to the figures quoted, using the various announced prices.

  7. The £178 Billion I believe includes maintenance and other stuff, not just buying new kit.
    Also, Remember the cost of Successor has been placed into the core MoD budget, courtesy of nice Mr Osborne.
    I’m all for the UK keeping Trident but that is going to bite elsewhere.
    We should just be pleased they are not spending even more getting the UK to build them!!

    That is the real problem. The constant subsidising of UK arms companies like BAES at the expense of the armed forces by buying gold plated kit and gold plated prices! OPVs. Billion pound T26’s with old kit from T23’s! Wildcat. The list is endless.

  8. Looks like the writing is on the wall. Imminent quietly announced proclamation that the UK only needs 38 Apache Es to fulfill its operational requirements. Can see it coming now.
    Very sad state of affairs. It could all be so much better a cash injection of £15-20 billion into defence on targeted areas of capability gaps could solve so many problems.
    10-12 type 31 frigates
    replacement for hms ocean (ideally two vessels of lphd or lph class)
    A follow on order for 2-3 more astute class to be built concurrently with dreadnought class
    A force of ospreys for carrier use.
    Norwegian anti ship missile
    A small force of say 60 F35As for RAF.
    Commit and order adequate batches of F35bs to allow both carriers at time of war to be deployed with +36 f35bs onboard each.
    Return squadrons to fleet air arm ownership and stop interservice rivalry between RAF and RN.
    Design and develop next generation of MBT to replace challenger 2. Using UKs superior materials science something with carbon nanotubes, plastics and polymer alloys as a composite armour would be very lightweight but almost impenetrable.
    Order a further 4 type 26 frigates optimised for air defence and surface strike to supplement type 45s
    Get mk41 vl silos fitted to type 45s when in dry dock having propulsion problems resolved.
    simple really….just needs a bit of cash.


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