Boeing and the U.S. Army have finalised orders from three nations to provide their armed forces with the new AH-64E Apache.

The contracts are for the remanufacture of 47 existing AH-64D Apaches. The total combined value of the orders is more than $560 million.

“More allied defense forces worldwide are selecting the AH-64E Apache because they know it provides the most advanced technology and capability to keep their nations safe and secure today and well into the future,” said Kathleen Jolivette, vice president of Attack Helicopter Programs.

“The Apache continues to be the most proven and reliable attack helicopter on the battlefield today.”

Sixteen countries currently field the Apache. AH-64 Apaches have flown 4.6 million flight hours, including more than one million flight hours in combat.

The remanufactured aircraft will be delivered in the early 2020s.

It is unknown if any are for the United Kingdom, which is still due to order the last 12 of 50 helicopters. While the UK says it has committed to ordering all 50, it’s late in doing so.

In July 2017, Harriett Baldwin, then Under Secretary of State for Defence Procurement said:

“The Ministry of Defence is buying 50 Apache AH-64E helicopters from the US Government under a Foreign Military Sales arrangement. The US has ordered the first 38 of the helicopters as part of its own larger purchase, under a multi-year contract with Boeing. This ensures we can take advantage of economies of scale and secure best value for the UK taxpayer, while procuring a vital capability for the UK. We expect the remaining 12 helicopters to be incorporated within the contract by the end of the year.

That was said in 2017 and it’s now 2020, we await official word on this.

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It baffles me that we don’t have more of these battle changing machines, a small price to pay for such a great piece of kit. From counter insurgency to full on peer to peer warfare these are invaluable


Apparently we got a great deal on the 38 ordered…..makes sense to double that order and bring us up to the number of AH-64D that we had!. Would also like to see a proper navalised version for the Marines.

Peter Elliott

It is said that the E model includes greater navalisation. Whether this extends to floatation devices or is just a case of coatings I do not know.


I believe that pilots were concerned as the top heavy nature of the helicopter and the lack of an adequate flotation device that would allow them to escape the cockpit!. I assume that a device like that would be fairly visible on the airframe!


The flotation devices have been developed by the UK. They’re fitted as needed. They are fairly obvious when added on. Although developed for the WAH-64D the US has been kept in the loop and they can be fitted to the E when delivered.

What would be really useful for naval use is powered blade fold…

Steve R


The fact that we only ordered 67 originally is baffling, then that we reduce down to 50 and now potentially to 38 (if we dont order the final 12) is mind-boggling!

Should double the number we have and make it a solid 100; 70 for the army and 30 for the navy.


What use does the RN have for a helicopter gunship? There isn’t a role for it in the fleet: strike is provided by Lightning, anti-surface has Lynx, and ASW has Merlin. The Libya strikes a few ago proved that the AAC could operate from carriers if needed, but that it was of negligible value compared to fast jets.

In any case, would be far better giving them all to the Army.


I think in a Strait of Hormuz situation an Apache would be a formidable opponent to dozens of Iranian fast attack boats than a Lynx.
Similar situation to the F35B. Should the RAF fly all of them from the carriers as well as land, or should the RN have its own. In the end we have a joint Lightning Force, so maybe a similar setup for Apache would be an idea.


That would involve qualifying the Apache with all of the naval strike weapons as the Lynx, even though the Lynx is already optimised for that role with Martlet and Sea Venom. Other than the gun, the Apache doesn’t bring any advantage, and would require expensive mods to do the same role. The joint force is a compromise, not a solution. Both the RAF and FAA would prefer their own fleets of aircraft (the RAF doesn’t want the B since it’s now a Tornado replacement as well as a Harrier replacement), but budgets are tight and it’s the only way the… Read more »


It necessarily. In fact the gun might all be that’s required, wasting expensive missiles on those boats would be like using brimstone in Islamic State pickup trucks. Expensive overkill. The E version is going to be modified for Martine operations anyway. I thought the Typhoon was meant to replace the Tornado, hence giving it ground strike capabilities. Though the F35 will do that job too. Yes the joint force is a compromise, but it’s a good one, giving value for money and flexibility. Certainly the brass in the RAF and FAA would like not to be sharing aircraft. But all… Read more »


The Typhoon was never designed to replace the Tornado in the interdiction/ground support role. Due to the delta wing planform the aircraft was designed to carry more air-air missiles and have a awesome performance super-sonically (At altitude) and agility. It was fortuitous that the platform design allows it to carry more weight than the Tornado. So for medium level to high level bombing/attack the delta wing platform has an advantage over the Tornado, due to its larger area and the additional fuel it can carry. But at low level, the delta wing is a major issue. The faster you go… Read more »


Actually the Typhoon was designed to replace Phantom and Jaguar, that was the requirement it was built to. The fact that they were withdrawn without replacement, then Typhoon ended up replacing both Tornado variants was as a result of the Cold War draw down. Add in the Germans forcing cut backs in the scope of the programme that then led to the UK having to do Centurion down the road and we are where we are today. F-35B was only ever a Harrier replacement though.


Sorry mate, but that is incorrect. Typhoon was designed to replace both the Phantom and Tornado F3, not the Jaguar. The full specification was to match the Lightning’s time to height time, range of the Tornado with the payload of the Phantom. The Tornado F2/F3 replaced both the Lightning and Phantom as the air defence fighter. The Tornado had woeful time to height times due to its poor power to weight ratio. However, it had a good endurance and range and when combined with the fox hunter radar (when working) made them excellent platforms for taking out long range Russian… Read more »

Steve R

From an offensive view: close air support of Royal Marines in a shore landing. Especially in a scenario such as now, where we only have approx 15 F35s in total. Even of we had 24 on a ship during a Falklands type scenario, the F35s could provide air cover whilst Apaches batter enemy troops to cover our Royal Marines as they land ashore. From a defensive view: in a Strait of Hormuz type scenario, if the Iranian Navy attacked our carrier it would be with a swarm of smaller attack boats. Same if it were another enemy using asymmetric warfare.… Read more »


For an amphibious assault that actually required such, it’s likely the army would be involved anyway. As a stopgap while carrier strike is developing, it’s better than nothing, but it’s not great. Curious that you mention the Falklands: CAS would’ve been completely useless during the landings at San Carlos, all of the opposition was from the air. From a defensive view, an Apache would be useful, but not more than any other asset. The Wildcat is faster, has a longer range, and can carry up to 20 Martlets for killing FACs. It also has other uses like SAR and ASW,… Read more »


The Iranians could launch mass anti ship missile attacks that might overwhelm the escorts defences & far more easily the phalanx last ditch, CIWS self-defence of the QEs. If they co-ordinated a swarm fast boat attack simultaneously there’d be a good chance 1 or 2 ASMs would get through.

Steve R

Also another possible role would be if we do get the proposed littoral strike ships; Apaches would be good for escorting helicopters with Royal Marines or special forces from ship to shore.


Has there ever been a proposal to merge the RAF with the Army or the Royal Navy as a way to make savings ?


UK actually dont need 50 64Es. these helos are quite capable of controlling a battlespace and providing datalink targeting information to lesser capable helos (such as the original 64As. A ratio 3:1 would be right. lose a 64A and it can be replaced, lose a 64E and you have lost a lot of capability. The original intention was for a mixed force of 64As and Ds to about 150 helos. Aircrew and training was a big Army problem.


I just don’t think there’s the money for the last 12 to be honest. I don’t believe defence was even mentioned in the last election and other commitments have already been made to other government departments. Not suggesting the alternative government would have been any better especially as these are a US purchase of an ‘attack’ helicopter, may have been cut altogether. Bottom line is not order the the last 12 is unlikely to make the front pages and therefore of little interest to the government or the opposition.


The three countries that have orders within this batch are the Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom as revealed by the DoD. Numbers were not.

I think it’s reasonable to conclude that the “missing” UK 12 are to be found here.

Steve R

Where did you see that?


That’s where I read it.


Thanks, it was a strange omission from the artlcle.


Flight Global


50 is not enough but if we can actually purchase all 50 we will have to settle for that and make do with 3×12 squadrons. If and when the dust settles on brexit, more defence cuts will come with the army copping out big time. Challenger 2 and Warrior upgrades, AS90 replacements all long overdue. The armoured fist is fast becoming a limp wrist unless we arrest these delays and fully arm up these so called strike brigades. No CR2’s at the spearhead, no strike capability.


It is a shame that the MOD isn’t jumping on these at this price and buying a much bigger order.

They are not designed to be used on naval ships and yet we are designing the QE carrier task force around using them (mainly to cover up the slow buy rate of the f35) which means they will need more maintenance and have a lessor availability. Increasing the number of platforms to compensate for this considering the cheap price would seem a no brainier.


An interesting footnote to this story which links into the German Tiger story regards availability. Australia purchased 21 ARH Tigers of a superior capability to the three formats then in use with France and Germany:
Germany : UH Tiger
France: HAP and HAD
They received their first in 2004 and the last around 2014

In july 2019 the Australian government issued a request for information to replace their Tiger helicopters with a first delivery set for 2026


I believe the Australians have had a nightmare with the things and have essentially given up on them.


They where crazy to order it to begin with. Who ever made the decision must have watched too much golden eye.


On an entirely different note, they weren’t crazy to buy our surplace bay class, which is now being put to great use helping evacuate the Aussies displaced by the fires


who are the three then?


Read above. Netherlands, UAE and the UK.


Got a source for that?




The article doesn’t give a break down was hoping for another one that provided details of how many of that number are for the UK, I assume 12 to go back to 50 but isn’t an assumption.


Does anybody know if the finished remanufactured airframes for the AAC will actually be the 38 airframes originally supplied by the IK MoD or do the airframes for the 3 air forces all get pooled? I guess it is effectively a factory reset with airframe hours returned to zero and built to an identical spec?