Apache sale to Australia gets the nod

The US State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to Australia of AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and related equipment for an estimated cost of $3.5bn.

Announcing the details of the possible FMS, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) disclosed that the sale would comprise 29 AH-64E helicopters and associated sensors, as well as 85 AGM-114R Hellfire missiles, 29 M36E8 Hellfire Captive Air Training Missiles, and 2,000 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System guidance sections. In addition, the sale would include manned-unmanned teaming video receivers and kits.

The AH-64E attack helicopter will replace existing Airbus Tiger platforms currently in service. US DOD/Capt Stephen James

The DSCA said the proposed sale “would improve” Australia’s capability to meet current and future threats and enhance interoperability with US forces and other allied forces. In addition, the agency said that should the sale be completed it would not alter the basic military balance in the region.

Prime contractors involved in this programme will be Boeing and Lockheed Martin, with implementation requiring the assignment of eight contractor representatives to Australia.

Earlier this year Australia selected the Boeing AH-64E Apache to replace the Australian Army’s fleet of Airbus Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopter from 2025 onwards.