The Government have confirmed that they intend to order the full 50 AH-64E Apache helicopters set out in the Strategic Defence & Security Review by the end of the year.

The information comes from a question asked in Parliament by Mr Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when he expects his Department to complete the order for all 50 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters.”

Answered by Harriett Baldwin, Under Secretary of State for Defence Procurement:

“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 UK 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.”

A contract modification detailed by the US Department of Defense in June indicated that Boeing has been awarded $411 million for 38 Apache aircraft for the UK.

A 9th of June contract modification notice read:

“The Boeing Company, Mesa, Arizona, was awarded a $410,916,893 modification (P00008) to foreign military sales (UK) contract W58RGZ-16-C-0023 for 38 Apache aircraft, three Longbow crew trainers, and associated spares.

Work will be performed in Mesa, Arizona, with an estimated completion date of Feb. 28, 2023. Fiscal 2010 other funds in the amount of $201,349,276 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.

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At this price – its the bargain of a the century and the UK should be buying 150 not 50. at the very least 72 would mean we maintain instead of reduce what has been one of the most overused pieces of kit in the military over the past 20 years. Come on Mr Fallon, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth – if you are going to have a much smaller military than previously – then the ability of that military to defeat an enemy has to be improved – not constantly reduced. Apaches have demonstrated their abilities… Read more »


100% – will never get a better opportunity


The actual response doesn’t make sense.

so we get such a great deal – why not order 50 instead of 38

Mike Saul

It’s an amazing price, I hope the ambition to order 50 E variants is achieved.

I recall the original requirement back in the mid 90s was for a total of 127 attack helicopters, now it’s just 50.


indeed Mike and lets remember that due to overuse these airframes are knackered by all accounts. This is just silly now – I think this is one of the best pieces of kit available to the UK and we should have 8 sqdns of 16 + a spare sqdn for OCU etc. which would make it 144 total. Surely we can afford this at £10m a pop even if that means taking some US rebuilt airframes. This would make a massive difference to the capability of an infantry division and would also be great for morale. no brainer in my… Read more »

Mike Saul

I agree the ah64 is a force multilper on the battlefield in a variety of roles, logic would suggest we need more not less of these weapons.


$12m for the most advanced attack helicopter in the world?

And the UK is reducing their fleet?

David Stephen

Hey guys. I think the 38 are so cheap because they are part of the much larger US order. That’s probably how many they where willing to give us from this production run. I will wager the remaining 12 will be much more expensive as they will be an additional production lot after the US orders are complete. Unless the US place another large order that our 12 can come from but that seems unlikely as the marines have the Super Cobra. If it really is £10 million a pop no strings then like Pacman says buy 100 at least.… Read more »


Hi David

From memory I think this is a run of 2000+ and has other countries in it (Taiwan springs to mind) our 50 are part of this and am sure we could add more on.

It looks as if under the Trump administration defence manufacturers are having a field day

We should buy these even if it means cutting elsewhere – they really are that good.

Bruce Sellers

Does anyone know whether there is an on-going standing resource within the current Apache force to maintain a security role?
I’m thinking more in the counter terrorism role- be that oil rig protection or vessels in transit (LPG?), as well as any response to on-land security issues.
It’s a question I’ve wondered for a while.
Thanks in advance.


By realistic estimates (US), the UK is incapable of fielding and sustaining more than an infantry brigade overseas for the foreseeable future, never mind a division. So what is the purpose of buying all of these extra Apaches advocated by commenters when all they will be doing is collecting dust in some hangar someplace while diverting funds from more urgent needs?