It has been reported the government is planning to spend a rumoured $4.5 billion to buy 29 Apache AH64E helicopters which are made in the United States.
In a statement reported in The Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said, “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.”
Defence wants to phase out its Tiger Attack Helicopters by 2025 since they have been plagued with issues for some time.
The RFI called for 29 helicopters, with 24 to be based at a single location with two operational armed recon helo squadrons, and a five for training Army pilots and battle captains at the Australian Army Aviation Training Centre at Oakey, Queensland. The two operational Tiger squadrons are currently based in Darwin in the Northern Territory as part of the 1st Aviation Regiment.
The RFI also stipulated an initial operational capability, represented by 12 helicopters, in 2026; and final operational capability with all 29 aircraft two years later.
In addition to Boeing, Bell responded to the RFI with its AH-1Z Viper, and Airbus Helicopters with an updated Tiger.
Boeing said the AH-64E provides Australia with a fully integrated, battle-proven capability and will continue to expand its industry capability and supply chain in Australia.
“Apache is supported by an active production line and a U.S. Army modernization plan through to the late 2040s, thereby ensuring the platform remains the leading attack and reconnaissance capability through to 2050 and beyond,” a company spokesperson said.
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