UAE’s 30-Helicopter Apache Upgrade Program Underway

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Before: AH-64A(click to view full) The United Arab Emirates is best known for its city of Dubai, an ultra-modern port city that has become the trading and commercial hub of the Middle East. As a May 2005 article in National Defense Magazine notes, however, it has also acquired a reputation for a strong and respected […]
AH-64A Over River

Before: AH-64A
(click to view full)

The United Arab Emirates is best known for its city of Dubai, an ultra-modern port city that has become the trading and commercial hub of the Middle East. As a May 2005 article in National Defense Magazine notes, however, it has also acquired a reputation for a strong and respected military procurement system.

One of their current initiatives involves the Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters the country acquired in 1991 and 1994. The plan involves remanufacture and modernization of 30 AH-64A aircraft to the current AH-64D Longbow Block II standard. Deliveries to the UAE were scheduled to begin in May 2008 and continue through November 2009, with support activities continuing through November 2010. Ancillary equipment requests also come with that effort. DID presents a timeline that extends back to the original 2002 DSCA announcement.

UAE’s AH-64 Upgrades: Related Contracts & Events

AH-64D Frontal

After: AH-64D
(click to view full)

The overall program includes integration and aircraft integration laboratory support at Boeing, protection and even stealth enhancements, missiles, training devices, initial spares, depot spares, support activities and integrated logistics support. Some items come in quantities over 30, in order to provide spares.

Note that “Longbow Ltd.” is a 50/50 joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, which handles the mast-mounted radar and associated gear.

Aug 2/11: Boeing Defense, Space & Security in Mesa, AZ receives a $10.1 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to provide engineering services and performance base logistics support for the United Arab Emirates.

Work will be performed in Mesa, AZ, with an estimated completion date of Sept 30/13. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by U.S. Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W58RGZ-06-C-0093).

Nov 8/10: The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF] a formal request for 60 AH-64D Block III Apache Longbow attack helicopters. Of the 60, 30 will be re-manufactured AH-64D Block IIs using the existing fleet, while the other 30 will be new-build helicopters. The total contract set could run as high as $5 billion – but a DSCA announcement is not a contract yet.

April 5/10: Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, FL received a $9.5 million firm-fixed-price but unfinalized contract to buy M-TADS/PVNS “Arrowhead” targeting systems, visible near infrared sight kits, and associated spares for the United States government and the United Arab Emirates government. This $9,464,423 commitment is 49% of the undefinitized contract, whose maximum is $19.3 million.

Work will be performed in Orlando, FL, with an estimated completion date of May 31/12. One bid was solicited with one bid received by US Army AMCOM Contracting Center, CCAM-AP-B at Redstone Arsenal, AL (W58RGZ-06-C-0169).

Feb 13/10: Focal Plane Imagery offers a photo set: “UAE Apache’s train with US Army’s 21st Cavalry Brigade in the Western Training Area of Texas.” The helicopters are newly-delivered, and used for training missions before they’re delivered to their home base at Al-Dhafra Air Base, UAE.

Aug 4/09: The USE submits a US DSCA request to buy 362 AGM-114N3 thermobaric Hellfire Missiles, plus various aircraft communications and ECM defensive systems. The total value of the contracts could be as high as $526 million, if all contracts are signed. Read “UAE Requests Hellfires, and More” for full details.

April 6/09: A $128.1 million firm fixed price, cost plus fixed fee contract. The contract includes 2 Longbow Crew Trainers for the UAE. The bulk of the funds will remanufacture 8 US Army AH-64As into AH-64D Extended Block II+ model, and enhance the USA’s own trainers.

Work is to be performed in Mesa, AZ (59%) and St. Louis, MO (41%) with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/13. One bid was solicited from the helicopters’ manufacturer, with one bid received (W58RGZ-06-C-0093).

Oct 4/07: The UAE issues an official request for 900 Hellfire II Longbow missiles, and 300 AGM-114M warheads designed for use against small ships and/or fortified urban targets. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $428 million.

Jan 18/07: Boeing announces a $1.149 billion extended Block II contract for the remanufacture of 96 AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters for the U.S. Army, plus 30 AH-64Ds for the United Arab Emirates. See Boeing release.

August 7/06: Lockheed Martin announces that the US Army awarded Lockheed Martin a $16 million contract to provide 37 AN/APR-48A Radar Frequency Interferometer (RFI) systems for the AH-64D Apache Longbow Helicopter: 7 for the USA and 30 for the UAE. The RFI systems provide situational awareness and threat warning aboard Apache Longbow helicopters by passively detecting, accurately identifying and precisely locating radar emitters. The RFI system performs target acquisition and cueing of Radar Frequency threat systems, such as surface-to-air missile sites or radar-guided anti-aircraft artillery.

As of this release, Lockheed Martin says it has delivered more than 330 AN/APR-48A systems to the U.S. Army and international military customers.

June 7/06: The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) awards a $125.8 million contract to Longbow Ltd. for production and support of 37 Longbow Fire Control Radars (FCR) – 7 for the USA, and 30 for the UAE. Deliveries will begin in October 2008 and conclude in April 2009. DID covered this, and subsequently updated the article in August.

Longbow Ltd. President Rick Russell notes in an August 8, 2006 release that this contract “brings the number of radar systems ordered to almost 400,” and the release adds the details re: the UAE/USA split. The U.S. Government apparently has an option to procure as many as 6 additional radars by July 1, 2006, and another option for additional procurement through December 31, 2006 (which therefore extends into FY 2007 after October 1, 2006).

July 17/02: The DSCA announces the United Arab Emirates’ intent [PDF] to pursue the upgrade program, and notes that the total value could be as high as $1.5 Billion if all options are exercised. This proposed sale also includes:

* 32 AN/APG-78 AH-64D Longbow Fire Control Radar
* 32 APR-48A Radar Frequency Interferometer
* 32 T700-GE-701C engines
* 32 Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensors (TADS/PNVS; note that M-TADS/PVNS is not the same as the new Arrowhead systems)
* 240 AGM-114L3 Hellfire II laser guided missiles
* 49 AGM-114M3 Hellfire II blast fragmentation missiles, originally designed for use against ships
* 90 M299 Hellfire missile launchers
* 33 AN/ALQ-211 Suite of Integrated Radio Frequency Countermeasures/Suite of Integrated Infrared Countermeasures – actually an ITT product.
* HAVE GLASS II capabilities. This is an indium-tin-oxide coating that improves radar stealth, and especially helps minimize cockpit reflections;
* Plus spare and repair parts; support equipment; publications and technical documentation; personnel training and training equipment; U.S. Government and contractor technical support and other related elements of logistics support.

DID has added responsibility assignments to the official list of major contractors, which consists of:

* The Boeing Company of Mesa, AZ (AH-64 manufacturer and prime contractor)
* Lockheed Martin Electronics and Missiles of Orlando, FL (TADS/PVNS or Arrowhead, Hellfire missiles)
* Lockheed Martin Systems Integration of Oswego, New York (RFI)
* General Electric of Lynn, MA (Engines)
* Longbow International of Orlando, FL (Radar)

There are no offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of 10 U.S. Government representatives for two-week intervals, twice annually, to participate in training, program management and technical reviews. There will be up to 40 contractor representatives in-country for two years to assist in the delivery of the helicopters, and a U.S. Government representative will be in the UAE field office for two years.

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