The U.S. State Department has approved a potential sale of AH-1Z Viper and AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to the Philippines, in advance of that country’s final decision on what system to buy. U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency notifications are not final sales; once cleared by Congress, the sales enter negotiations, during which quantities and costs can shift. The choice of either American-made platforms is not guaranteed; Manilla is also considering the Turkish-made T129 ATAK. However, the U.S. State Department often preapproves potential sales of systems to foreign countries so that if the foreign partner does select an American-made weapon, the process will move more quickly.
On 30 April 2020, the Philippines was cleared to buy six AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters and related equipment, produced by Bell, with an estimated price tag of $450 million. Should the Philippines select the AH-1Z package, it would come with 14 General Electric T700-401C engines, seven Honeywell Embedded Global Positioning Systems/Inertial Navigation with Precise Positioning Service, six AGM-114 Hellfire II missiles, and 26 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System all-up rounds, among other equipment. The Bell AH-1Z Viper is an American twin-engine attack helicopter and one of the latest members of the prolific Bell Huey family.
A much more expensive option, for six Boeing-made AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and related equipment, comes with an estimated cost $1.5 billion. The AH-64E package would come with 18 General Electric T700-701D engines, 15 Honeywell Embedded Global Positioning Systems/Inertial Navigation with Precise Positioning Service, 200 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, 300 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System kits, and 200 FIM-92H Stinger missiles, among other gear, equipment, U.S. government and contractor technical assistance, technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support.
The Philippines is considering either the AH-1Z or the AH-64E to modernize its attack helicopter capabilities. The proposed sale will assist the Philippines in developing and maintaining strong self-defense, counterterrorism, and critical infrastructure protection capabilities. In either case, industrial offsets are expected to be part of the winning package; such offsets are negotiated directly between the customer nation and the industry partner. Philippine Air Force also receives two donated Cobra attack helicopters from Jordan. The Bell AH-1Z Viper is based on the AH-1W SuperCobra, that was developed for the United States Marine Corps as part of the H-1 upgrade program.