Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $14,158,360 contract for AH-64 Apache refurbishment items.
According to a contract notice, work will be performed in Orlando, Florida, with an estimated completion date of March 31, 2021. Fiscal 2018 foreign military sales funds in the amount of $14,158,360 were obligated by the United Kingdom at the time of the award.
The Government had earlier confirmed that they intended to order the last 12 of 50 AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters by the end of the year however that did not happen. 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, 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 may not have happened yet as it;s unclear what items and in what quantity are being procured.
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.”
An earlier contract modification detailed by the US Department of Defense in June last year indicated that Boeing had been awarded $411 million for 38 Apache aircraft for the UK. A 9th of June contract 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.”
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.
Recently, Leonardo has announced that it has been contracted by the Ministry of Defence to provide a defensive aids suite for the British Army’s new fleet of Apache AH-64E helicopters. The company say that under related contracts from the UK MOD and Boeing, Leonardo will integrate sensors and countermeasures to ensure that UK Apaches remain amongst the best protected attack helicopters in the world.
According to Leonardo:
“Combat helicopters like the Apache fly at relatively low speeds compared to fighter jets and often at low altitudes, so they are vulnerable to a wide range of threats including infrared-guided missiles and anti-tank guided weapons. An integrated defensive aids suite helps protect a helicopter from threats in a joined-up way. A complete system includes sensors to identify threats to the helicopter, countermeasures to defeat these threats and a computer that coordinates the whole system, linking the incoming warnings with protection techniques such as chaff or flares.”
Minister for Defence Procurement Guto Bebb said:
“UK Apaches provide our Armed Forces with world-leading capabilities in the field of combat. Today’s announcement will see our aircraft fitted with cutting-edge British protection to rapidly detect and defeat inbound threats. This is a welcome boost for UK jobs and investment which is part of the Government’s recently announced Defence Industrial Policy Refresh.”
Every Apache AH-64E that comes off the production line, regardless of its end user, already has a built-in Leonardo defensive aids suite computer, known as an ‘AGP’ (Aircraft Gateway Processor). This project will see Leonardo take the UK’s Apache defensive aids suite a step further by integrating a number of sensors and countermeasure systems onto the AH-64E to enhance its situational awareness and survivability. The helicopters’ sensor fit will include Leonardo’s SG200-D radar warning receiver (the UK-specific variant of the company’s SEER family) and will re-use a number of systems that are currently on-board the Army’s fleet of Apache AH Mk1. These re-used sensors and effectors include Leonardo’s S1223 laser warning receiver, the BAE Systems AN/AAR-57 missile approach warner and the Thales Vicon countermeasure dispensing system. Initially these systems will be taken from spares stores and the remainder will become available when the AH Mk1s retire from service in 2023/24.