US approves $4bn AH-64E sale to Kuwait

The US State Department announced on December 29 that it has approved the possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of 24 Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters to the Kuwaiti government.

Approval of the potential deal, worth an estimated US$4bn, was announced in a media release by the State Department’s Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), after it had notified the US Congress. The deal provides for the production and delivery of eight new AH-64Es, as well as the remanufacture of the Kuwait Air Force’s current fleet of AH-64D Apache Longbows to the AH-64E configuration.

AH-64E [Boeing]
On December 29, 2020, the US approved Kuwait's request to purchase eight new-build Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters, as well as the remanufacture of the Kuwait Air Force's existing fleet of 16 AH-64Ds to AH-64E-standard. Boeing

In the media release, the DSCA said: “The proposed sale of the AH-64E Apache helicopters will supplement and improve Kuwait’s capability to meet current and future threats by enhancing Kuwait’s close air support, armed reconnaissance, and anti-tank warfare mission capabilities. Kuwait will have no difficulty absorbing these helicopters into its armed forces.”

The potential multi-billion-dollar deal also includes new and remanufactured GE Aviation T700-GE-701D turboshaft engines, as well as embedded global positioning systems with inertial navigation with multi-mode receivers. A number of new and remanufactured systems have been requested by the Kuwaiti government as part of this possible FMS. This includes AN/AAR-57 Counter Missile Warning Systems; AN/APG-78 Longbow fire control radars; infrared countermeasures dispensers (2 flares, 1 chaff); Link 16 datalinks and manned-unmanned teaming international (MUM-Ti) air-to-air/air-to-ground datalink systems.

Kuwaiti AH-64D [US Army/Sgt Aaron Ellerman]
A pair of Kuwaiti Air Force AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters prepare to engage a target during a joint combined arms live fire exercise with the US Army near Camp Buehring, Kuwait, on December 7, 2016. US Army/Sgt Aaron Ellerman

In terms of munitions, the new and remanufactured helicopters will come equipped with M299 AGM-114 Hellfire missile launchers, Hydra 70mm (2.75in) rocket launchers and M230EI 30mm chain guns.

As part of the deal, Kuwait has expressed an interest a Technical Assistance Fielding Team (TAFT) to provide in-country pilot and maintenance training services. This team would comprise 12 personnel (one military and 11 contractors), who would be deployed to Kuwait for approximately three years.

Boeing, Lockheed Martin, GE Aviation, Longbow LLC and Raytheon will serve as the principal contractors for this possible FMS. No offset agreements have been proposed in connection with this potential sale.