Saturday, January 16, 2021

US To Sell 6 AH-64E Apache ‘Guardian’ Gunships To Kuwait; Bombs & Gadgets To Saudi Arabia & Egypt

The US will arm Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt with the latest AH-64E Apache Guardian gunships and other military hardware.

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The State Department has approved possible foreign military sales of the latest AH-64E helicopter to Kuwait for an estimated cost of $4 billion. It has also announced possible FMS (foreign military sales) of various equipment to Arab countries, including small diameter bombs (SDBs) to Saudi Arabia and targeting pods and other equipment to Egypt.

The Kuwait deal, when finalized, would include the sales of 6 units of AH-64E Apache ‘Guardian’ helicopter gunships and the remanufacture of the existing 16 AH-64D Apache ‘Longbows to new AH-64E standard. 

Additional equipment includes helicopter engines, counter-missile warning systems, fire control systems, radar electronic units, missile and rocket launchers, 30mm chain guns, communication systems, along with training and logistical services.

“The proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a major non-NATO ally that is an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East,” a press release mentioned.

The Kuwait Air force currently operates 16 AH-64D Apache ‘Longbow’ helicopters and thus already has operational capability and experience with the aircraft. 

Boeing’s AH-64E ‘Guardian’

Being the newest member of the Apache family, the helicopter sports a new and more powerful engine along with redesigned rotor blades enabling better dynamic performance. Its engine has an updated face gear transmission making it more powerful compared to its predecessors. 

The helicopter was made with the 21st-century battlefield requirements, having better avionics, a fully digital cockpit, and even has the capability to control unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). AH-64Es are to have the L-3 Communications MUM-TX datalink installed in place of two previous counterparts, communicating on C, D, L, and Ku frequency bands to transmit and receive data and video with all Army UAVs.

The AH-64E has an advanced radar which would increase its maritime operations capabilities. Notably, the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army are also among the recent customers of the aircraft.

The chopper was deployed along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh, in the wake of the Galwan Valley clash between Chinese and Indian troops on June 20, resulting in the death of 20 Indian and an unconfirmed number of Chinese casualties.

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