WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department has cleared a foreign military sale of AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to Kuwait worth an estimated $4 billion, according to a Dec. 29 post by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

The agency has notified Congress, which will weigh in. If lawmakers clear the potential deal, negotiations will begin between the country and the supplier, during which the price and quantity are subject to change.

Kuwait wants to buy eight new AH-64Es and plans to remanufacture the 16 AH-64 Delta models it purchased in 2005 into the E-model configuration.

The purchase would include new and remanufactured T700-GE-701D engines, new and remanufactured AN/AAR-57 Counter Missile Warning Systems, and embedded GPS with inertial navigation and multimode receivers.

The Apaches will come equipped with AN/ASQ-170(V) modernized target acquisition and designation sights and AN/AAQ-11 pilot night vision sensor electronic units, plus AN/APG Longbow fire control radars.

The helicopters would also have M299 AGM-114 Hellfire missile launchers as well as Hydra 70mm rocket launchers and M23El 30mm chain guns.

The contractors who will supply capability as part of this sale include Boeing, which manufactures the AH-64; Lockheed Martin, which supplies Hellfire missile launchers as well as the day and night vision sensors; and General Electric, which supplies the engines.

The State Department cleared a $4.25 billion sale to Morocco a year ago, but no deal has been made yet. Qatar was also cleared to buy “E” models in early 2019.

The Netherlands is one of the more recent customers to upgrade all of its AH-64Ds to E models in 2018.

Egypt is also approved to purchase a number of AH-64Es, and Bangladesh and the Philippines are currently considering the AH-64E to bolster its forces.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Boeing has been closely watching the AH-64 international supply chain for signs of slowdown. While Boeing had to stop work at its CH-47F Chinook cargo helicopter production facility in Pennsylvania, it did not have to stop work in Mesa, Arizona, at its AH-64 facility.

The U.S. Army stopped accepting AH-64E helicopters from Boeing for a period of time in 2018 due to safety concerns related to the durability of the helicopter’s strap pack nut, which holds very large bolts that subsequently hold the rotor blades on the helicopter. Defense News first broke the news in April 2018. By August 2018, Boeing had redesigned the nut to be more durable and the Army began receiving helicopters again at the end of that month.

Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.

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