The U.S. State Department has approved a possible sale of 24 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and related equipment to Qatar under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program for an estimated cost of $3.0 billion.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) delivered the required certification of the sale notifying Congress of this possible sale on May 9.
The new helicopters will supplement the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF)’s previous procurement of 24 AH-64Es (previously called AH-64D Block III), whose sale was approved by the State Department on July 12, 2012. Qatar placed the $667.5 million order for the helicopters in 2016 and the first batch was delivered in March this year. The deliveries of the first 24 helicopters are scheduled to be completed by the end of May 2020.
The QEAF AH-64E Apache Guardians will be armed with Hellfire II air-to-ground missiles (AGM), Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems (APKWS) II guided rockets, 2.75 in. Hydra rockets and FIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missiles (AAM). Some of the helicopters (sale of 8 nos. approved now, 12 earlier) will also be equipped with AN/APG-78 Longbow millimeter-wave fire-control radar (FCR).
The 48 new Apaches will allow the Qatari Armed Forces (QAF) to replace its aging airframes (SA342 Gazelle scout helicopter) with multi-mission attack helicopters, which are capable of meeting its requirements for close air support (CAS), armed reconnaissance, and anti-tank warfare missions. The helicopters will provide a long-term defensive and offensive capability to the Qatar peninsula as well as enhance the protection of key oil and gas infrastructure and platforms.
The statement from DSCA said that this proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that continues to be an important force for political and economic progress in the Middle East.
Qatar is host to the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) forces and serves as a critical forward-deployed location in the region and the acquisition of these helicopters will allow for integration with U.S. forces for training exercises, which contributes to regional security and interoperability, the statement added.
The prime contractors of the possible sale will be Boeing, Mesa, Arizona; Lockheed Martin Corporation, Orlando, Florida; General Electric, Cincinnati, Ohio; Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors, Owego, New York; Longbow LLC, Orlando, Florida; Thales Corporation, Paris, France; and Raytheon Corporation.
Sales Package for Qatar
The Government of Qatar has requested to buy additional twenty-four (24) AH-64E Apache Attack helicopters; fifty-two (52) T700-GE-701D engines (2 per aircraft, 4 spares); twenty-six (26) AN/ASQ-170 Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation Sight (MTADS) (1 per aircraft, 2 spares); twenty-six (26) AN/AAQ-11 Modernized Pilot Night Vision Sensors (1 per aircraft, 2 spare); eight (8) AN/APG-78 Fire Control Radars (FCR) with Radar Electronics Unit (LONGBOW component); eight (8) AN/APR-48 Modernized-Radar Frequency Interferometers (MRFI); twenty-nine (29) AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning System (CMWS) (1 per aircraft, 5 spares); fifty-eight (58) Embedded Global Positioning Systems with Inertial Navigation (EGI) (2 per aircraft, 10 spares); two thousand five hundred (2,500) AGM-114R Hellfire missiles; and twenty-five (25) Hellfire Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM) (1 per aircraft, 1 spare).
Also included are twenty-eight (28) M230 30mm automatic chain guns (1 per aircraft, 4 spares), AN/AVR-2B laser detecting sets, AN/APR-39 Radar Signal Detecting Sets, AN/AVS-6 Night Vision Goggles, M299 Hellfire missile launchers, 2.75 inch Hydra Rockets, 30mm cartridges, CCU-44 impulse cartridges, M206 and 211 countermeasure flares, M230 automatic guns and associated components, 2.75 inch rocket launcher tubes, AN/ARC-231 and AN/ARC-201D radios with associated components, AN/APX-123 transponders, image intensifiers, MUMT2i systems, AN/ARN-153 tactical airborne navigation systems, chaff, spare an repair parts, support equipment, training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support.
Boeing AH-64 Apache
Boeing AH-64 Apache is an American four-blade, twin-turboshaft attack helicopter with a tailwheel-type landing gear arrangement and a tandem cockpit for a two-man crew.
According to Boeing, the AH-64 Apache “is the world’s most advanced multi-role combat helicopter and is used by the US Army and a growing number of international defence forces.” The AH-64 has a large amount of systems redundancy to improve combat survivability.
Apache is armed with a 30 mm (1.18 in) M230 chain gun carried between the main landing gear, under the aircraft’s forward fuselage. It has four hardpoints mounted on stub-wing pylons, typically carrying a mixture of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and Hydra 70 rocket pods. The helicopter features a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems.
The U.S. Army is the primary operator of the AH-64; it has also become the primary attack helicopter of multiple nations, including Greece, Japan, Israel, the Netherlands, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates; as well as being produced under license in the United Kingdom as the AgustaWestland Apache.