Manufacturers are considering their response to a request for information (RFI) issued by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) covering the replacement or upgrade of the nation’s fleet of AH-64D Apache attack helicopters.

Although the precise details of the RFI have not been released, it is designed to allow the nation’s army to eventually field a total of 50 Apaches configured to the new E-model standard.

Boeing is likely to offer US-built AH-64Es to the UK, although the airframer is staying silent on the precise nature of its response.

Nick Whitney, director of business development for Boeing's defence business, says: “We will put a quote back to the UK government for what they have asked for.

“They have requested the price and availability for 50 E models and we will support whatever procurement policy [Defence Equipment & Support] deem appropriate.”

UK Apache AH-64D

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Although the government is likely to prefer an off-the-shelf solution with the helicopters acquired from the USA via the Foreign Military Sales process, AgustaWestland – which has a substantial UK workforce – is keen to offer a solution, as it did with the earlier D-model Apaches.

In that instance, the Anglo-Italian firm fitted the helicopter’s sensor suite and weapons system, as well as installing Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca RTM322 engines instead of the standard General Electric T700 powerplants.

However, Whitney points out that although the UK-built Apaches were “very successful”, boasting more power than the US-built examples, the performance of the AH-64E “surpasses that by some margin”.

Simon Jones, vice-president of UK government business at AgustaWestland, says as it is “a live competitive process”, it can make no further comment, but is considering its response. He declines to say whether it would propose final assembly work on new aircraft or upgrades to the existing fleet.

The MoD's Chief of Materiel (Joint Enablers) Pete Worrall says the RFI was issued in November 2014, ahead of a likely decision on the £1 billion ($1.5 billion) procurement in early 2016.