Boeing's advanced AH-64D Longbow Apache attack helicopter could soon be flying under Kuwaiti colours in a deal believed to be worth more than $800 million.

Boeing sources at Dubai '97 say the final details of the contract are being worked out by the US Army, which is handling the sale for the company, and the Kuwaitis.

"It should be soon," says company spokesman Ken Jensen.

"Letters of offer and agreement have been received by the US Army and they have been sent back to Kuwait. I think it indicates very serious interest on the part of the Kuwaitis."

The US Congress was given a month in September to raise objections to the 16-aircraft deal, but none was forthcoming.

Boeing says the deal for new-build airframes does not currently include the Longbow millimetre-wave radar targeting system, which can detect ground targets at night and in bad weather.

To date the radar has only been cleared for export on the United Kingdom's WAH-64s, with the US government so far refusing to sanction the sale of the system's 'cutting edge' technology to the Middle East.

Jensen says all parties are working to get the radar cleared for export to Kuwait.

The deal is also reported to include the sale of some 384 Lockheed Martin/ Northrop Grumman AGM-114 Hellfire anti-tank missiles, spare parts, training and support.

The UAE and Egypt are among regional states which already operate AH-64A models.

Clearance of the Longbow radar for export to Kuwait could open the way for the installation of the advanced weapon system on the 86 older Apaches in service in the Middle East.

If the Kuwait deal goes ahead, it will scupper the hopes of Sikorsky, which is hoping to sell an armed version of its UH-60 Blackhawk to the country.

Denel of South Africa had also pitched hard with its CSH-2 Rooivalk.

Boeing has an AH-64D on display at Dubai '97.

Source: Flight Daily News