Australia Army AH 64E Boeing Image 640Australia orders AH-64 Apache Guardian

On 9 May 2022, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed that the Australian Government finalised a more than AUD 5,5 billion investment to acquire and operate 29 new Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters for the Australian Army, replacing the existing Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) helicopters, with an additional investment of up to AUD 500 million to upgrade the facilities to support the new Apaches.

On 15 January 2021, Scramble Magazine reported that the AH-64E is the winner of the LAND 4503 project. In the 2016 Defence White Paper it was decided that the Tiger ARHs would be replaced in the 2021-2030 timeframe. Three contenders were in the race to fulfil the requirement for new Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters. The Bell Helicopter AH-1Z Viper, the Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian and the upgraded Airbus Helicopters Tiger. In October 2019, Airbus Helicopters suffered a setback in the project as the government rejected an offer for 22 upgraded Tiger helicopters.

On 3 June 2021, the US State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Australia of AH-64E Apache Helicopters and related equipment.

Delivery of the Apache Guardians will start in 2025. The acquisition is broken down into three delivery stages, beginning with a projected Initial Operating Capability (IOC) in 2026 and a Full Operating Capability (FOC) in 2028. Five AH-64Es will be used for training, most probably with the School of Army Aviation (SOAA) at Oakey (Qld.). The other 24 helicopters will form a Regiment at an unknown primary location.

Image: Boeing Australia

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