Dutch State Secretary of Defence Barbara Visser and Mich?le Hizon, principal director for Security Assistance at the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), signed a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) on 14 September for the modernisation of the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) fleet of AH-64D Apache helicopters under the Foreign Military Sales programme, the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) and DSCA have announced.
Signed at Gilze-Rijen Air Base, where RNLAF Apaches are based, the USD1 billion LOA includes the modernisation of 28 AH-64D helicopters and training of RNLAF Apache pilots at Fort Hood, Texas.
The Dutch MoD expects the upgrade to be completed in 2025, keeping RNLAF Apaches operational until 2050.
The Dutch Defence Materiel Organisation will oversee the upgrade, which will bring Dutch Apaches up to the AH-64E standard. The helicopters will receive new airframes, transmissions, rotors, and mission equipment, according to the Dutch MoD. The ministry said more powerful engines would increase the speed of the upgraded Apaches and improve their ability to operate in bad weather, and better sensors would improve targeting, adding that the helicopters would have greater survivability against radar threats and better datalinks.
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