US aircraft manufacturer Boeing says that as part of winning the £2 Billion UK Apache upgrade contract, it will create jobs in the UK.
Boeing is reportedly in line to take over control of Apache helicopter production from Yeovil-based Leonardo-Finmeccanica, formerly AgustaWestland, in a deal due to be announced in July at the Farnborough Air Show.
The Apache was originally a Boeing design, and was built under licence in Yeovil for the British Army from 1999-2004.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has been challenged on defence spending plans which unions claim could cost 600 Yeovil jobs.
A Boeing spokesman said:
“Any future UK contracts would be supported here in the UK with a significant, positive impact on the British economy and employment. Boeing has doubled its UK workforce and spending with the UK supply chain in the last five years to more than 2,000 employees and almost £2 billion a year respectively, supporting 12,700 jobs in the tier one supply chain in the UK. This growth continues in 2016 and beyond.”
Boeing has several sites in the UK, and works with the Apache operation at Yeovil already.
Boeing is set to win a £2 billion contract from the UK for new Apache helicopters.
In 2015, the United Kingdom requested the re-manufacture of fifty WAH-64 Apache helicopters to AH-64E Apache Guardian standard and this was quickly approved by the United States. It is understood that Boeing is offering the helicopters at a lower price by tacking them on to the end of a larger Apache order from the US military.
The AH-64E variant features improved digital connectivity over previous models, the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System, more powerful T700-GE-701D engines with upgraded transmission to accommodate more power, capability to control unmanned aerial vehicle, full IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) capability, improved landing gear and additional upgrades.
Included in the deal will be:
“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.”
It’s understood that the Ministry of Defence were originally keen to have the aircraft re-manufactured in the United States but this option would mean jobs being lost at AgustaWestland (Leonardo), Boeing’s proposal would seem to be the best of both worlds in this regard.
The UK had originally purchased 67 Apache aircraft, the first 8 helicopters were built by Boeing; the remaining 59 were assembled by AgustaWestland at Yeovil. It is understood that this arrangement more than doubled their cost.