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Boeing Initiates Production of AH-64E Guardian Attack Helicopters for Morocco

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Boeing Initiates Production of AH-64E Guardian Attack Helicopters for Morocco

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A file photo of the Apache attcak helicopter production line in Mesa, Arizona
A file photo of the Apache attcak helicopter production line in Mesa, Arizona

Boeing has kicked off the manufacturing process for 24 Boeing AH-64E Guardian attack helicopters destined for The Royal Moroccan Air Force (RMAF), marking a significant leap in the country’s aviation capabilities. The manufacturer’s announcement on November 13th highlighted this strategic step, showcasing the commencement of a substantial project. This initiative gains paramount importance as the RMAF presently lacks a dedicated attack helicopter, relying instead on the aging Aérospatiale SA342L Gazelle helicopters, procured back in 1978, which are in dire need of replacement. The production began at Boeing’s Mesa facility in Arizona, a considerable milestone following the signing of the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract in June 2020. Scheduled deliveries of these cutting-edge AH-64E Apache attack helicopters are set to commence in 2024, further solidifying Morocco’s aerial prowess.

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Morocco of thirty-six (36) AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and related equipment for an estimated cost of $4.25 billion. Alongside these helicopters, the request includes an extensive array of supplementary equipment and armaments. Among the notable inclusions are 79 T700-GE-701D engines, vital for the operational efficiency and reliability of the Apache helicopters. Additionally, the package comprises an arsenal of missiles, notably 551 AGM-114R Hellfire missiles (441 new, 110 optional), 60 AGM-114L Hellfire missiles, and 72 M36E9 Hellfire Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM). These missiles represent a diverse range of capabilities, providing Morocco with both offensive and training resources for their aerial forces. It incorporates eighteen AN/APG-78 Fire Control Radars (FCR) with Radar Electronic Units (REU) and eighteen AN/APR-48B Modernized Radar Frequency Interferometers (MRFI).

Boeing AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter
The AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter is the latest version of the AH-64, used by the US Army. Until 2012 it was designated as AH-64D Block III. (Photo by Boeing)

Furthermore, the proposal encompasses a range of auxiliary equipment aimed at bolstering training, communication, and logistical capabilities. It includes Manned-Unmanned Teaming-2 (MUMT-2) video receivers and air-air-ground kits, as well as Improved Data Modems (IDM-401), Link-16 terminals, and Improved Countermeasure Dispensing Systems (ICMD). These additions not only enhance the operational readiness of the acquired equipment but also facilitate comprehensive training and seamless communication between aerial assets. In addition to the above, the request takes into account a substantial amount of ammunition and supplementary tools. This entails rocket launchers, Stinger Air-to-Air launchers, Stinger Captive Flight Trainers (CFT), Stinger Aerial Handling Trainers (AHT), 2.75-inch rockets, and 30mm rounds.

The Boeing AH-64 Apache is an American twin-turboshaft attack helicopter with a tailwheel-type landing gear and a tandem cockpit for a crew of two. Nose-mounted sensors help acquire targets and provide night vision. It carries a 30 mm (1.18 in) M230 chain gun under its forward fuselage and four hardpoints on stub-wing pylons for armament and stores, typically AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and Hydra 70 rocket pods. Redundant systems help it survive combat damage. Formerly known as AH-64D Block III, in 2012, it was redesignated as AH-64E Guardian. It has improved digital connectivity, the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System, more powerful T700-GE-701D engines with upgraded face gear transmission to handle more power, capability to control unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), full IFR capability, and improved landing gear. It will have a L-3 Communications MUMT-X datalink in place of two older counterparts, communicating on C, D, L, and Ku frequency bands to transmit and receive data and video with UAVs.

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