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.



  1. So were spending $2.5 Billion for 50 refurbished airframes plus support equipment. It was reported here that they were offered a price of $20 Million per airframe NEW. Are we going down the same route as the VC10 upgrade, Nimrod upgrade etc. Why do we refurbish airframes when they’re cheaper to buy new?
    I posted the above in the original post for the Apache; anyone know why we’re refurbishing these?

  2. Especially as the US Army ordered 35 Guardians for $591m ! This sounds like the worst deal ever (but normal for the MoD)

    • The UK deal price includes full through life support costs not just the cost per aircraft as in the US Army purchase.

  3. £40 million for a refurbished Apache – that’s what you call being taken for a ride. Shame the writer doesn’t even question that or how many jobs would be created over and above the 600 that will may be lost? How long would these jobs be sustained? Yet another example of the this two faced Government killing the UK aerospace & defence industry while at the same time claiming it supports British business.

  4. As far as I was aware the price of the original aircraft was inflated due to all the upgrades that were requested by the MOD not Westland assembling them… as well as producing transmission and rotary assemblies, which they still produce, repair and overhaul for the MOD today.

  5. You may actually find that the take over of Westland by Boeing is announced at Farnborough too. The best thing that could happen to them. The Italians would pull everything back to Italy if they could butthe UK Gvt would drop them like a stone. Boeing however is looking for global expansion as they cant expand any further in the US and the UK is their biggest European base.


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