Officials sign agreement of upgrade Apache helicopters
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

U.S. and Dutch officials participated in a signing ceremony Sept. 14 that included the Letter of Offer and Acceptance between the two governments to upgrade existing Apache Model D helicopters to the Model E configuration.

U.S. Principal Director for Security Assistance, Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), Michèle Hizon, and the State Secretary of Defence, The Kingdom of the Netherlands, Barbara Visser, signed the document.

DSCA announced the possibility of this Foreign Military Sales (FMS) case in a press release dated Feb. 20, 2018.

"This LOA is the culmination of an enormous amount of work from many different people across the U.S. Army security assistance enterprise. The AH-64 program manager, (Army Aviation and Missile Command) AMCOM, and (Army Communications -- Electronics Command) CECOM (Army Security Assistance Management Directorate (SAMD) teams did a great job working with the Dutch to get this accomplished," said Ryan Nichols, the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command country program manager for the Netherlands. USASAC is responsible for implementing Army security assistance and FMS cases.

"Typically, the AH-64 PM will start the contracting process after the signing of the LOA," Nichols said. "For this particular contract, the Netherlands Aircraft are being added to an existing U.S. government multi-year contract."

According to the DSCA press release, the government of the Netherlands requested the upgrade/remanufacture of 28 AH-64D Block II Apache Attack Helicopters to the AH-64E.

The upgrade includes a total package approach which includes training devices, helmets, simulators, generators, transportation, wheeled vehicles and organization equipment, spare and repair parts, support equipment, tools and test equipment, technical data and publications, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The total package approach looks to ensuring the capability for the long-term.

The estimated total case value is more than $1 billion, but more importantly, this effort supports fortifying the Trans-Atlantic NATO alliance.

Allies and partners are top priority for both the Department of Defense and Army, and this sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the U.S. by improving the security of a NATO ally which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic progress in Europe. It is vital to U.S. national interests to assist the Netherlands to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability.

"Disassembly of the D-model aircraft will take place in Huntsville, Alabama," Nichols said. "Dynamic components will be removed and shipped to their respective overhaul locations. All AH-64D/E common parts will be shipped to Mesa, Arizona. The actual upgrade itself will take place in Mesa." The principal contractors are Boeing Company, Mesa, and Lockheed Martin, Orlando, Florida.

The sale of the AH-64E remanufacture will improve the Netherlands' capability to meet current and future threats of enemy. The Netherlands will use the enhanced capability to strengthen its homeland defense and deter regional threats, and provide direct support to coalition and security cooperation efforts. The Netherlands will have no difficulty absorbing this aircraft upgrade into its armed forces.

USASAC will continue to work with the Netherlands as it oversees the life-cycle of this case, according to Nichols.