The US State Department has approved the sale of 29 Apaches to the Australian government alongside spare parts, as well as training and operational equipment.
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The State Department has confirmed its approval for the sale of the AH-64E Apache Helicopter to the Australian government, with the helicopter and service agreement valued at an projected US$3.5 billion.
The deal consists of 29 AH-64E Apache Helicopters with a number of spare parts for ongoing maintenance and sustainment of the aircraft. Additional sale items include 64 T700-GE 701D engines, of which six will be held as spare by the ADF, 29 pilot night vision sensors and radar frequency interferometers, 16 fire control radars, 70 GPS units, 35 missile warning systems and 85 Hellfire missiles. The US State Department has confirmed that there will be numerous other training aids and operational tools included in the deal.
According to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the sale of the Apache to the Australian government will support strengthened interoperability between the US and Australia, with Boeing and Lockheed Martin being the key primes involved in the sale.
The announcement follows Australia’s decision earlier in the year to transition to the Apache Helicopter from the Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter.
Speaking in January, former minister for defence Linda Reynolds confirmed that the proposed transition would strengthen Australia’s warfighting capabilities.
“This new ARH capability will strengthen Australia’s armed reconnaissance force to better shape our strategic environment and deter actions against our national interest. Defence considered a number of helicopters against key criteria of proven ability, maturity and an off-the-shelf operating system,” Minister Reynolds said.
“The Apache Guardian is the most lethal, most survivable and lowest risk option, meeting all of Defence’s capability, through-life support, security, and certification requirements.
“By pursuing a proven and low-risk system offered by the Apache, Defence will avoid the ongoing cost and schedule risk typically associated with developmental platforms.”
[Related: Going Apache – A step in the right direction]