The U.S. Army awarded Boeing a $234 million foreign military sales contract to supply 24 AH-6i light attack/reconnaissance helicopters to Saudi Arabia, affirming a long pending order. The Department of Defense announced the contract award on August 29; the estimated contract completion date is Dec. 31, 2016.
Boeing AH-64 Apache
Boeing said that it recently flew its AH-6i light attack/reconnaissance helicopter for the first time in production configuration. Flight status moves the program “another step closer to full-scale production,” the manufacturer said on May 1.
The Obama administration delivered a proposed $496 billion base U.S. defense budget for Fiscal Year 2015 to the Congress on March 4. In a round of briefings at the Pentagon, service budget officials spoke of making difficult choices because of spending limits Congress imposed in the Budget Control Act of 2011, followed by deep “sequestration” budget cuts that took effect in FY2013.
A U.S. Congressional panel has agreed to the Pentagon’s plan to quickly deliver six Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters to Iraq. They will be delivered in the summer, and will be leased from the U.S. Army to allow training to begin with Iraqi army aviation. The helicopters are AH-64Ds upgraded to a partial AH-64E configuration. The notification to Congress was lodged on January 23, and was followed by another four days later covering the $4.8 billion purchase of 24 new-build AH-64E Apache Guardians to be delivered over a three-year period.
Last week Iraq took delivery of the first batch of Mil helicopters from the Rostvertol factory. Four Mi-35Ms were delivered to Iraq, their arrival being announced by Iraqi prime minister Nouri Al-Maliki. Iraqi managers, crews and technicians have been training at the Russian army’s Torzhok center, with the first group completing its course in late September. Following the delivery of the initial batch will be at least two more Mi-35Ms, and a sizeable batch of Mil Mi-28NE Night Hunter attack helicopters.
With around 1,000 employees, the electronic warfare arm of Selex ES is a major player in the EW marketplace, as a lead integrator on programs, such as the Praetorian defensive system of the Eurofighter Typhoon; a provider of equipment; and as a developer of new technology. It is also increasingly involved in supporting EW operations of air arms as nations move toward greater control over their own electronic warfare resources.
Air India’s seventh GEnx-1B-powered Boeing 787 of the 27 ordered is taking flight at the flying display here at the Paris Air Show. The airline will take delivery of this 787 next month, and a total of eight by the end of this year, five in 2014, six in 2015 and two in 2016. A Qatar Airways 787, which flew at the Farnborough Air Show last year, is also on static display here.
On the eve of the Paris air show the Longbow joint venture comprised of Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman announced that it had received a contract to provide Longbow fire control radars (FCRs) for the AH-64E Apache Guardians (formerly AH-64D Block III) that have been ordered by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The $90.6 million contract covers FCRs for the Royal Saudi Land Forces Aviation Command and the Saudi Arabia National Guard, as well as mast-mounted assemblies for the U.S. Army. Spares and support is also included in the Saudi element.
Bell Helicopter unveiled its next-generation tiltrotor on April 10 at the Army Aviation Association of America (Quad A) annual convention in Fort Worth, Texas. Bell intends to enter the V-280 Valor in the U.S.
The U.S. Army gave the go-ahead for full-rate production of the Block III version of the Boeing Apache attack helicopter, which has been redesignated AH-64E. Potential export orders could add as many as 100 new airframes in the next few years. The AH-64E offers several improvements, including greater power, composite main rotor blades, net-centric communications, defensive system enhancements, modernized target acquisition designation sight (M-TADS), automated target detection and classification, and the ability to control UAVs.