According to a statement from the Pentagon, the U.S. State Department has notified the U.S. Congress for the sale of Apache helicopters to Kuwait for around $4 billion.
As part of the deal, Kuwait will not only receive the latest variant of Apache helicopters, but it will also received upgrades to 16 of its AH-64D Apache helicopters bringing them up to the AH-64E. The military deal also includes the receipt and processing of aircraft engines, renewal of the old models’ missile systems, upgradation of navigation systems, etc.
According to Washington, the deal will strengthen Kuwait’s position in the region, increase its fighting capabilities and provide better opportunities for aerial reconnaissance. The State Department has reiterated that the deal will not upset the military balance in the Middle East. The deal also includes training of human personnel including training of Kuwaiti pilots.
From the press release, it is clear that several companies are likely to participate in the deal’s execution, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon.
The AH-64E Apache is ranked as the best attack helicopter in the world and is mostly used by the U.S. Army. Developed by Hughes Aircraft, a U.S. company, it is now produced by Boeing.
Since October 2012, the AH-64E has been renamed to “Apache Guardian”; previously it was known as the AH-64D Block III.
Upgrades to the AH-64E includes a new Joint Tactical Radio System, improved digital connectivity, more powerful T700-GE-701D turbines, an improved transmission for a maximum of 2120 kW, full IFR capabilities, the ability to control UAVs, and 15 cm longer composite rotor blades.
These new rotor blades, which successfully completed flight test in May 2004, increases the speed, rate of climb and payload capacity of the helicopter.
A significant innovative capability is Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T), through which U.S. pilots can take control of nearby drones at any time and thus gain access to live camera streams, sensors and weapon systems. Thanks to the MUM-T, the operating radius of the Apache is significantly increased.
The pilots can use the drones to scout out their targets at a distance of 80 to 100 kilometers long before they approach the target area and can easily keep an eye on them even when moving. The MUM-T system has been deployed successfully in Afghanistan.