Kuwait has selected the BAE Systems Helicopter Integrated Defensive Aids System (HIDAS) for its new Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters. It marks the first export success for the UK equipment and comes ahead of decisions by Singapore and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Kuwait government has signed a letter of offer and acceptance to purchase 16 AH-64D helicopters, with first deliveries in 2005-06. It is understood that Kuwait has specified HIDAS as its infrared (IR) and radio frequency (RF) countermeasures suite.

HIDAS was in competition with the ITT ALQ-211 Suite of Integrated RF Countermeasures (SIRFC) and the BAE (formerly Sanders) Suite of Integrated IR Countermeasures, which the US Army has delayed integrating with its AH-64s. Elements of the two systems have been ordered for US special forces equipment, and the US Army is hoping to find fresh SIRFC funding as part of a planned Block 3 package of Apache enhancements.

The UK has already paid part of the non-recurring cost of integrating HIDAS on its AgustaWestland-built Apache AH1s. The suite comprises a countermeasures dispenser, the Sky Guardian 2000 radar warning receiver, a laser warning receiver and the AAR-57 Common Missile Warning System.

Apache customers yet to select a defensive aids system include Singapore, which has ordered 20 Apache Longbows, and the UAE, which plans to upgrade its 30 AH-64As. In addition to HIDAS and SIRFC/Suite of Integrated Countermeasures, the UAE is mulling a Thales/Electronica joint bid.

The US Congress was told of the Kuwait deal in April, when it was worth around $2.1 billion and included eight Lockheed Martin/Northrop Grumman APG-78 Longbow radars, Lockheed Martin's Arrowhead modernised target acquisition designation system, armament, spares, training and contractor support.


Source: Flight International