Paul Derby

Greece has raised the stakes for the world's attack helicopter manufacturers still further by kicking off a competition to supply up to 24 combat machines, it was revealed at the show yesterday.

The Greek government has sent out a price and availability (P&A) request, covering potential buys of 16 or 24 machines. The intention is to create two squadrons for the Greek army, which currently operates 24 Boeing AH-64A Apaches.

Greece is looking at an in-service date of 2004 for the aircraft.

The Apache squadron in place at the moment is operated by 1 Attack Helicopter Battalion, based at Stefanovikion.

The contest comes at a time of escalating defence spending in the region, with Turkey expected to sign up for an initial purchase of 50 attack helicopters in early March. The country has a total requirement of up to 145 aircraft.


Boeing landed the first blow earlier this week when Israel confirmed a major upgrade and new-buy programme for its AH-64A fleet. Boeing executives at Asian Aerospace are confident of a second boost for the Apache programme with Egypt expected to announce upgrades for its 35-strong -A model inventory in the next few days.

"Egypt wants -D models," says Bob Mitchell, director of Apache business development, "but they don't have release for the Longbow radar. We understand they want to push ahead with the aircraft buy and negotiate the technology release later. It makes sense not to delay the entire programme."

Singapore adopted a similar approach when it bought AH-64D Apache Longbows last year. Meanwhile, it has emerged that the doomed EgyptAir flight which crashed into the Atlantic en route to Cairo last October had on board a significant number of Egypt's Apache development team.

Source: Flight Daily News