Kuwait approved to buy $4 billion worth of Apache gunships

AvatarBy Dan Parsons | December 29, 2020

Estimated reading time 4 minutes, 31 seconds.

Kuwait has been cleared by the U.S. State Department to purchase new AH-64E gunships and upgrade its legacy D-model Apaches to the most-modern version under a deal worth up to $4 billion. 

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) annoucned approval of the potential foreign military sale on Dec. 29. Included are eight new Boeing AH-64E Apache Longbow attack helicopters and the remanufacture of 16 AH-64Ds Kuwait already owns into E-model Apaches. 

Apache Kuwait
A U.S. Army AH-64 Apache helicopter prepares for live fire at a target during DASMAN SHIELD at Udairi Range Complex, Kuwait, Feb. 23, 2020. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Isaiah J. Soliz

Also included in the potential approved foreign military sale (FMS) are 22 new General Electric T-700-701D engines and 36 remanufactured engines. 

“The proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a major Non-NATO Ally that is an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East,” an online DSCA announcement of the deal 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 antitank warfare mission capabilities.”

Along with the helicopters themselves, the State Department also greenlit the sale to Kuwait of a passel of related sensors, equipment and weapons, all of which is enumerated in the DSCA announcement

Boeing wraps up 2020 with nearly $8 billion in potential AH-64E deals with nations outside the United States approved, though not all are guaranteed to result in actual sales. 

In April, the Philippine government was given the go ahead to purchase up to six Apaches and related equipment for $1.5 billion, though it also was approved to buy the same number of AH-1Z Cobra helicopters from Bell at a cost of $450 million. The Philippine government is set to choose between the two attack helicopters but has not decided which to buy. 

The following month, Egypt was approved to purchase parts and equipment needed to refurbish 43 of its AH-64E Apaches for an estimated cost of $2.3 billion. 

Boeing is lagging behind 2019 Apache deliveries, according to the company’s third-quarter 2020 earnings report. In the nine months ending Sept. 30, it had delivered 18 new AH-64Es and 44 remanufactured helicopters, versus 27 new and 56 rebuilt Apaches during the same period in 2019. 

For its part, the U.S. Army is remanufacturing many more Apaches than it is buying new. The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act — passed by both houses of Congress, vetoed by President Trump, re-authorized by the House of Representatives and now before the Senate — includes a total 52 Apaches. Of those, two are new-build aircraft at $69 million. Another $792 million is for 50 remanufactured AH-64E Block IIIA aircraft with another $169 million thrown in for advanced procurement of materials to buy future remanufactured attack helicopters.

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