Boeing is aiming for a string of foreign sales of the AH-64D Apache Longbow. At the same time it is investing in the existing Longbow upgrade and development work that will see new technologies introduced to the aircraft beyond 2006.
The volume of potential international business for attack helicopters is at its highest level for many years, and the Boeing team at Paris is in buoyant mood.
Van Horn, director of international business development for the Apache, says he expects to win big: "We are very upbeat at how negotiations are going. "We are in the unique position of having secure domestic business through 2006. It's up to us to add more international sales."
Horn says the Apache is competing in three Pacific Rim competitions, in Australia, Japan and South Korea.
He expects that the Australians, with their Air 87 programme, will down-select two aircraft.
He believes Japan's AH-X contest will be for an initial lot of 10 aircraft, with follow-on orders between 2003 and 2006. Boeing is offering to kick-start AH-64D manufacture with a gradual move towards local production.
"In South Korea we've had very successful flight evals and we're waiting for the next stage of the competition," he says.
The Middle East is another potentially lucrative sector, with a decision from Egypt on remanufacturing its A models to D standard due "within weeks".
The UAE is looking at a similar remanufacturing programme for 30 aircraft, while Israel is also involved in Apache discussions.
There's no shortage of European business either, with Spain's requirement for 24 attack helicopters heading the list, and an on-going competition in Greece.
As well as the Apache upgrade for the US Army, Boeing is funding longer-term development work, loosely designated AH-64X.
Dick Williams, director of international Apache programmes, says: "Beyond 2006 we want to introduce a common avionics suite and drive-train upgrade. "We looked at a five-bladed main rotor but decided on four blades. We're packaging all this in what we're calling the Affordable Advanced Rotor Programme.
Source: Flight Daily News