UAE displays upgraded Apache Block II
Boeing has completed work bringing the United Arab Emirates’ fleet of 30 Apache attack helicopters up to AH-64D Block II configuration, it has been announced.
Speaking at the Dubai Helishow on 3 November, Boeing director for rotorcraft business development, Mike Burke, said the company had remanufactured all 30 of the aircraft, which now feature the Longbow fire control radar and new fire control system.
The UAE Army displayed one of its AH-64D Apaches at the static display here at the show.
As well as the Longbow radar, the Apache fleet now incorporates the Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS) electro-optical fire-control system and AGM-114L3 Hellfire II laser-guided missile.
Burke said the upgrade to the fleet, carried out under a contract with Boeing that was signed in 2006, was made possible by the ‘plug and play’ nature of the Apache.
With US Army Apaches now being brought up to Block III standard, the company was also looking to convince international Apache operators of the benefits of also upgrading to this latest standard.
Boeing was awarded a $247 million contract on 22 October for the initial production of eight Apache Block III aircraft, with the delivery of the first scheduled for October 2011.
However, the company is still in negotiation with Jordan over the details of a contract for 18 (with an option for a further six) AH-6i light attack/reconnaissance helicopters.
This order is in addition to 36 AH-6i aircraft for Saudi Arabia that was part of the recently announced $31 billion arms package with that country.
The aircraft has already passed fire and evaluation tests in Jordan and Burke said the company was confident of being able to make first deliveries to either country within 21 months of contract award.
In both cases, the aircraft will be similar to US Army standard configuration, although Jordan is looking to integrate the Lockheed Martin Direct Attack Guided Rocket (DAGR) with its AH-6i fleet as part of a separate contract.
Meanwhile, the UAE is also understood to be considering buying more CH-47F heavy lift helicopters. In December 2009 the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced the possible sale of 16 CH-47F Chinooks to the UAE.
Dubai Helishow: UAE displays upgraded Apache | Shephard Group