United States approves the sale of AH-64E attack helicopters to Kuwait

According to information published by the United States Department of Defense on December 29, 2020, the U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Kuwait of AH-64E Apache Helicopters and related equipment for an estimated cost of $4.0 billion.

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United States approves the sale of AH 64E attack helicopters to Kuwait 925 001 AH-64D attack helicopter of Kuwait armed forces. (Picture source Air Recognition)

The Government of Kuwait has requested to buy eight (8) AH-64E Apache Longbow Attack Helicopters and remanufacture sixteen (16) of their AH-64D Apache Longbow Attack Helicopters to the AH-64E configuration consisting of: eight (8) AH-64E Apache Helicopters, weapons, spare parts, communication systems and individual equipment.

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. Kuwait will have no difficulty absorbing these helicopters into its armed forces.

The principal contractors associated with this sale will be The Boeing Company, Mesa, AZ; Lockheed Martin Corporation, Orlando, FL; General Electric, Cincinnati, OH; Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors, Owego, NY; Longbow Limited Liability Corporation, Orlando, FL; and Raytheon Corporation, Tucson, AZ. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require the temporary assignment of approximately three U.S. Government personnel and five contractor representatives to Kuwait to support the delivery of the helicopters and provide support and equipment familiarization. In addition, Kuwait has expressed an interest in a Technical Assistance Fielding Team (TAFT) to provide in-country pilot and maintenance training. Execution of a TAFT will require a team of twelve additional personnel (one military and eleven contractors) to be deployed to Kuwait for the period of approximately three years.

According to the military balance 2020, Kuwait has one squadron of 16 AH-64D attack helicopters. The AH-64 The is an American-made twin-turboshaft attack helicopter manufactured by the company Boeing. The advanced AH-64D Apache Longbow was delivered to the U.S.  Army in March 1997. Production has been continued by Boeing Defense, Space & Security, with over 2,400 AH-64s being produced by 2020. The helicopter is in service with Egypt, Greece, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Netherlands, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States. 

The AH-64 is armed with one 30mm M230 automatic cannon mounted at the front under the fuselage. The attack helicopter is also armed with AGM-114D Longbow Hellfire air-to-surface missile as well as air-to-air missiles and rockets mounted on hardpoints located on each side of the fuselage. 

The AH-64D Apache Longbow is equipped with a glass cockpit and advanced sensors, the most noticeable of which being the AN/APG-78 Longbow millimeter-wave fire-control radar (FCR) target acquisition system and the Radar Frequency Interferometer (RFI), housed in a dome located above the main rotor. 

The AH-64E features improved digital connectivity, the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System, more powerful T700-GE-701D engines with upgraded face gear transmission to accommodate more power,[310] capability to control unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), full IFR capability, and improved landing gear. New composite rotor blades, which successfully completed testing in 2004, increase cruise speed, climb rate, and payload capacity.