In 2017, the Government confirmed that they intended to order the last 12 of 50 AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters by the ‘end of the year’ however it’s now 2019 and this hasn’t happened yet.
The information regarding the original intention to purchase the final 12 of 50 at a later date 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 the Department to complete its order for all 50 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters.”
Answered by Harriett Baldwin, then 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 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.”
This did not happen at the end of the year and has not happened yet.
The US Department of Defense have not issued a contract modification notice or even any new information relating to UK Apache procurement.
A spokesman for the MoD insisted that the UK will still order all 50 Apaches, to be delivered by 2025, and splitting the order “will secure the best value for money for the taxpayer as we secure a vital capability for the UK.”
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.