The Government of Australia has finalized a more than $5.5 billion investment to acquire and operate 29 new AH-64E Apaches helicopters for the Army, replacing Army’s existing Tiger helicopters. The Government will also invest up to $500 million to upgrade facilities to support the new Apache helicopters. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the investments were key to the Government’s plan for a safe and secure Australia in the face of regional and global uncertainty. The more than $8 billion Government of Australia is investing in helicopters and facilities means 290 new jobs on the ground for electricians, mechanics, and engineers to support their maintenance.
The Army’s Tactical Uncrewed Aircraft Systems and Air Force’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, further enhance these capabilities when deployed in combination. The Apaches will be a key part of Australian air capability across armed forces services. The Apache will also have a highly skilled blended maintenance workforce comprising a large proportion of Australian industry contractors within both the Operational and Deep Maintenance organizations. The Australian Defence Force is working closely with Australian industry, primarily Boeing Defence Australia, to deliver a support system for the Apaches that maximizes Australian Industry Capability.
In July 2019, Australia issued a request for information for Project Land 4503 to replace the Army’s Eurocopter Tiger ARH helicopters. 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. On 15 January 2021, the Australian Minister for Defence announced that the AH-64E had been selected to replace the Tiger ARH. he fleet of up to 29 AH-64Es will be acquired with a planned initial operational capability of 12 helicopters in 2026 and full operational capability in 2028.
The Boeing AH-64 Apache is an American twin-turboshaft attack helicopter with a tailwheel-type landing gear arrangement and a tandem cockpit for a crew of two. It features a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems. It is armed with a 30 mm (1.18 in) M230 chain gun carried between the main landing gear, under the aircraft’s forward fuselage, and four hardpoints mounted on stub-wing pylons for carrying armament and stores, typically a mixture of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and Hydra 70 rocket pods. Formerly known as AH-64D Block III, in 2012, it was redesignated as AH-64E Guardian to represent its increased capabilities.