The Ministry of Defence has announced a $2.3 billion deal to purchase 50 latest generation Apache attack helicopters for the British Army.

The new Apaches are understood to be much more capable than their predecessors.

The AH‑64E model of the helicopter can also carry more weapons while being more fuel efficient, allowing it to operate in more demanding conditions for longer. Built by Boeing and already in service with the US Army, are being purchased via a Foreign Military Sale with the United States Government.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

“This deal will give the British Army an outstanding helicopter at good value for money for the UK taxpayer.

It is part of our plan for more ships, more aircraft, more troops available at readiness, better equipment for special forces, more being spent on cyber. That plan, backed by a rising defence budget will enable us to deal with the increased threats to our country.”

According to the Ministry of Defence, the support and training arrangements for the new Apache AH-64E helicopters represent a further opportunity for UK suppliers. The proposed arrangements for these services will be finalised over the next year, with contracts being placed toward the end of the decade. It is envisaged that these future arrangements will support around 350 jobs, a comparable number to that required to support the existing Apache fleet.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon continued:

“In the longer term, I want these new Apaches to be maintained in the UK, and for UK companies to do most of the work. This includes Leonardo Helicopters, who have developed substantial knowledge and experience in the support of our current Apache fleet over the last decade and will continue to support the helicopters until their eventual retirement in around eight years’ time.”

The release also states, “buying the AH-64E ‘off the shelf’ allows the MOD to take advantage of the US Government’s larger production programme in Mesa, Arizona, with the UK benefiting from economies of scale. To further guarantee value for money, systems from the current Apache fleet, such as the Modernised Target Acquisition & Designation System, and the Longbow Fire Control Radar, will be reused and incorporated into the new helicopters where possible.”

Chief Executive Officer at the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support organisation, Tony Douglas said:

“This is a momentous day for the UK Armed Forces, with these latest generation helicopters set to provide troops with a world-beating capability for decades to come.

The MOD’s deal with the US brings UK benefits too; a range of UK companies are benefiting from working on the global Apache programme and the support and training arrangements of these new attack helicopters presents further exciting opportunities for UK industry.”

The Chief of the General Staff General Sir Nick Carter said:

“The new Apache fleet will provide the British Army with a highly potent fighting element of its Future Force 2025. The Apache has already proved its worth on operations in Libya and Afghanistan, supporting UK and coalition troops, and this new model will give our pilots an attack helicopter that is faster, more responsive and more capable. These improvements will give us the edge on operations as we work to protect the UK and our interests both at home and abroad.”

The first UK helicopters are due off the US production line in early 2020 and will begin entering service with the British Army in 2022.

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Steven K

50? Is this a cut on current inventory? As we have 60+ now.


Nope. our 60+ got reduced to 50 years ago


From what i understood there is only 50 ‘active’ the remaining 17 are in storage and being used for parts.

So only an on paper cut in numbers.

Chris Ferguson

So not “british” apaches anymore but off the shelf US models ?


Chris Ferguson

Looking at the peice on Forces tv. I see there really wasn’t any other option.. bargain!

Michael Wadeson

Not quite off the shelf. British Apaches have rolls Rolls Royce engines giving them a power boost over the standard power plant.

Chris Ferguson

That’s what I was getting at.. current ones do.. but these won’t be ?

and the RTM322 engines were always joint Anglo/French… RR sold off their share some years ago. The new GE engine in the E is more powerful and fuel efficient….

Chris Power

The E will have the US engine – even the “British” engines in the WAH-64D ……aren’t anymore – RR sold their stake in the RTM 322 program several years ago so its now a “French” engine.

James Gale

Add to the fact the new Apache is a generation ahead of the current ones. Superb piece of kit and sensible procurement at a lower price than UK built versions.

Chris Ferguson

Seems that way 🙂

Greg Stephen

As opposed to the massively overpriced AW version. Yes its engines were better but it cost so much more & isn’t upgradable to the new standards.

James Gale

The new GE engines are more powerful than the RR ones.

Steven Heath

Are these brand new … i Thought these wer an upgrade of 50 AW Longbow air frames.

Spike Hunter

Good call…it’s looking like we’re gonna need em! ?

William Harrison

About time we took our defence more seriously.

The new 50 buy has been planned since SDSR2010 – so its been serious for quite a while!

Danny Kelly

Put the original 67 into storage, I can see a need for them in the near future!

Chris Power

66 – one was written off

David Anthony Simpson



So not marinised (folding rotors, salt proofing) for service on the QE’s?

Fitted for Brimstones?

Andy berry

The zetec apache veraion


Apparently British made Apache’s cost four times that of US made off the shelf type.

Peter Laycock

Fifty! ?

Andy Berry

Lol – the new zetec version 😉

Rhys Faulkner

Wow we’re actually putting more money into upgrading our military now. Hasn’t happened for years ?

Rhys Faulkner

Connor Brazier Alex Thomson

David Gil

Buy? Why? This Country has more than enough talent to design and produce an attack helicopter as good or better than the venerable Apache.

Keith McIntyre

Because that would cost an obscene amount of money!

James Gale

We jointly built Tiger…..Nuff said.

David Gil

money spent here stays here, pays tax here, buys stuff here. Over 20% of what I earn and about the same of all the stuff we buy goes back to the govt…. probably even if the helicopters made here would cost the double, overall, it would still be a bargain… not to mention that would put food on the table of british families.

David Gil

and if we sell some to our great allies around the world… then… you see how much better things are

Simon Maynard

Erin Maynard

Derek Gale

Shame Westland (as was) aren’t able to licence build.

Aurel Mel

A bit late………….. Mangusta is stronger 😛


We can’t build within decent time frames and ensure cost effectiveness… hence we rely on foreign companies. If it’s homemade then it will be overdesigned…over delayed…increasing costs and therefore reducing numbers. Too many examples to give… but we couldn’t project manage if our lives depended on it…


50 to replace the 50 in service, or in addition to the ones in service?