Update: Australia selects AH-64E Apache Guardian to replace Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters

by Julian Kerr

Canberra has selected the Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter to replace the Australian Army’s fleet of 22 Airbus Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters (ARHs), Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said on 15 January.

Canberra announced on 15 January that it selected the Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian (seen here in Taiwanese service) attack helicopter to replace the Australian Army’s fleet of 22 Airbus Tiger ARHs. (Republic of China Army )

Canberra announced on 15 January that it selected the Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian (seen here in Taiwanese service) attack helicopter to replace the Australian Army’s fleet of 22 Airbus Tiger ARHs. (Republic of China Army )

The first of 29 Apaches equipped with improved sensors, communications suites, attack capabilities, and improved survivability is expected to be delivered in 2025, said the minister.

While formal approval by the US State Department for the acquisition has yet to be announced by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the cost of the 29 Apaches together with spares, sensors, communications, training, and facilities is expected to be around AUD4 billion (USD3.1 billion), sources said.

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) had considered a number of helicopters against key criteria of proven ability, maturity, and an off-the-shelf operating system, Reynolds said.

Lessons learnt from issues with the Tiger ARH and other rotary-wing projects had informed the strategy to seek a proven, mature replacement capability. “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,” said Reynolds.

“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,” she added.

The Tiger ARH first entered Australian service in December 2004. It has suffered performance and availability issues but is now delivering on its promised capabilities, which includes operating from the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN’s) two Canberra-class landing helicopter dock (LHD) vessels.

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Canberra has selected the Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter to replace the Australian ...

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