A Minister had claimed that all 50 new Apache helicopters had been ordered from Boeing, so I asked the MoD.
Former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, Stuart Andrew, said in response to this question from Andrew Rosindell, the Member of Parliament for Romford:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when her Department plans to complete its order for all 50 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters.”
Stuart Andrew responded:
“The order for all 50 Apache AH-64E attack helicopters was placed with the US Government in June 2016 and deliveries are planned to be complete by early 2024. The US Government manages the timing of subcontracts to support the required aircraft delivery schedule.”
No such order was placed, a commitment to 50 was made but only 38 were actually ordered at the time.
So, I asked the Ministry of Defence the following:
I would like to know when all 50 Apache AH-64E Guardian helicopters were ordered and if not all 50 have yet been ordered, when the final order will be made and for how many aircraft?”
The response to my Freedom of Information request is as follows:
“Under a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) case signed in June 2016, the UK MOD placed an order with the United States Government (USG) for 50 AH-64E Apache helicopters.
Currently, the USG has ordered 38 aircraft to meet the UK requirement and will order the remaining 12 at the optimum time to meet our required delivery schedule.
Under Section 16 of Act (Advice and Assistance), it may be helpful to know that, under the FMS process, the USG places orders for aircraft from the manufacturer (Boeing) in time to meet the MOD’s required delivery schedule. The USG wil use their buying power, leveraging the US Army’s requirements and that of other international customers, to negotiate the best possible price and therefore achieve best value for money.
The required delivery schedule remains unchanged from that agreed in June 2016.”
Further to the above, at the end of last year Andrew (in response to a request for information from the chair of the Defence Select Committee) even points out that the remaining 12 have still to be ordered.
This letter is dated December 2018:
While the UK says it has committed to ordering them all, 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 2019, this has not happened.
So there we have it.