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AH-64E Apache ‘Guardian’ Attack Helicopter

AH-64E Apache ‘Guardian’ Attack Helicopter

Announced in May 2022, Australia will acquire a fleet of 29 Boeing-built AH-64E “Guardian” variant of the Apache attack helicopter as part of the AU$5.5 billion LAND 4503 Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter replacement program.

The AH-64E is the most advanced multi-role combat helicopter in the world, with more than 700 "E-variant" Apaches delivered globally.

Boeing's AH-64E incorporates a range of technologically advanced capabilities, including advanced digital connectivity, the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System, more powerful T700-GE-701D engines with upgraded face gear transmission to accommodate more power, the capability to control unmanned aerial vehicles, and a new composite main rotor blade.

Heavily armed, the Apache can be outfitted with up to 16 Hellfire missiles, 76 2.75-inch rockets, 1,200 30mm chain gun rounds, and it can achieve a top speed of more than 250 kilometres per hour.

The Australian government sought to replace the beleaguered ARH Tiger helicopters with a "proven and mature, off-the-shelf manned armed helicopter" to deliver armed reconnaissance effects in the close and deep contested battlespace in support of the Australian Defence Force.

To support Australia's fleet of Apaches, a further AU$500 million has been earmarked to upgrade aviation facilities and infrastructure at Townsville.

Delivery is scheduled to begin in 2025, with initial operating capability projected for 2026 and full operating capability expected by 2028.

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