Boeing has been awarded a USD3.4 billion multiyear contract to supply new-build and remanufactured AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters to the US Army and Saudi Arabia.
This first AH-64E multiyear contract, which was awarded by the US Department of Defense (DoD) on 15 March, covers multiyear lots 7-11 production, and comprises 268 Apaches, as well as crew trainers, ground support equipment, spares, logistics, and engineering technical services.
Of the 268 helicopters, 244 are remanufactured models for the US Army and 24 are new-build for Saudi Arabia. Work should be complete by 30 June 2022.
The contract is a modification to an earlier USD184.93 million DoD AH-64E production contract awarded on 21 March 2016 that covered Lot 7 production for the US Army. The completion date of that earlier award is 30 June 2017.
It is not clear which branch of the Saudi Arabian military the new Apaches are earmarked for, with the Royal Saudi Land Forces (RSLF) having begun receiving 36 AH-64Es in 2014 (augmenting the 12 AH-64A/D platforms it already fielded), and the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) having received its 12 AH-64E-variant Apaches. The Saudi Royal Guard was looking to buy 10 AH-64Es of its own, but it has been reported that these would be rolled into the RSLF's order instead.
Of these three branches of the Saudi armed forces, it is the SANG that is building up its aviation capabilities at a determined rate. The 12 AH-64Es that it has already received form part of the 1st Aviation Brigade (AB), which will be fully stood up at Khashm Al An airfield near Riyadh in May. Two more operational aviation brigades (plus one training brigade) will be formed through to 2023, by which time the SANG will have 156 aircraft in its inventory (at the standing up of the 1st AB the SANG will have received the first 48).
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