The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency has announced State Department approval of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Netherlands of items and services to support the upgrade/remanufacture of its AH-64D Block II Apache attack helicopter fleet to AH-64E configuration. The estimated cost of the work is $1.191bn, including engines, targeting and other systems. The deal still awaits approval from Congress.
The Dutch government has requested the upgrade/remanufacture of 28 AH-64D Block IIs to the AH-64E configuration, also known as Apache Guardian. This will include bringing the 51 remaining T700-GE-701C engines up to T700-GE-701D standard (42 engines to be installed, plus nine spares). Also included in the package are 17 AN/APG-78 fire control radars and 28 AN/ASQ-170 Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation Sights (MTADS)/AN/AAR-11 Modernized Pilot Night Vision Sensors (PNVS) that will be cross-decked onto the rebuilt aircraft.
Dutch Apaches have been subject to several modification programmes in the past. By 2009, all had received the new Lockheed Martin Arrowhead MTADS/PNVS. This can be used in combination with the Integrated Helmet and Display Sight System (IHADSS) and will be retained on the AH-64E.
For deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Royal Netherlands Air Force introduced 13 Terma-built Apache Modular Aircraft Survivability Equipment (AMASE) systems in 2004, carried in wing-mounted pods. The equipment was acquired as an interim solution and was expected to be replaced by a US-built integrated electronic self-defence system similar to that acquired for the Dutch Chinooks, in a programme set to run until 2025.
The entire fleet is also subject to Block II modification with the installation of new communications equipment, including HF radio, replacement of some analogue systems with digital equivalents, upgrade of the identification friend or foe (IFF) system to Mode 5 standard, and installation of a blue forces tracker and new data modem. The Block II upgrade programme was scheduled for completion by 2019.
For a full report on the Dutch Apache force, see the April 2017 issue of AFM, available here.