Boeing has received a $1.9-billion contract from the US Army to begin full-rate production of 184 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters.
The deal covers the manufacture and delivery of the first Apaches for Australia.
The decision to procure more AH-64 choppers comes as the US Army fleet successfully surpassed five million flight hours, proving the capability and reliability of one of the service’s primary attack aircraft.
Of the Apaches under order, 115 will be handed over to the army and 15 will be procured as options.
The remaining 54 choppers will be part of foreign military sales to allied countries, including Australia.
“We are enhancing the US Army’s attack fleet, while supporting additional partner nations and welcoming our newest Apache customer, the Australian Army,” Boeing vice president Christina Upah said in a press release.
“This contract highlights the need for Apaches worldwide.”
‘Critical for Warfighters’
Boeing’s AH-64E is the latest and arguably most advanced of Apache twin-engine attack helicopters.
It can destroy armor, personnel, and materiel targets in obscured battlefield conditions.
Additionally, the four-blade tandem-seat chopper features an M230 30-millimeter cannon, Hydra-70 2.75-inch rockets, and AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-ground missiles.
It also has a new integrated infrared laser for easier target designation and an updated small tactical terminal radio that includes the LINK 16 to communicate in a collaborative environment.
“This multi-year contract is critical for the warfighter and the entire Apache team,” US Army Apache project manager John Maher explained. “It demonstrates the Army’s commitment to continue putting unmatched capability into the hands of our nation’s finest.”