The United Arab Emirates plans to double the size of its Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter fleet to 60 aircraft, under a potential acquisition and modernisation package worth $5 billion.

The UAE's current 30 AH-64Ds would be upgraded to Boeing's Apache Block III configuration under the possible deal, while 30 new-build examples would also be acquired. The plans were announced by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) in a 3 November notification to Congress.

According to the DSCA: "The UAE needs these helicopters to fulfil its strategic commitments for self defence, with coalition support, in the region." Boosting its Apache inventory will result in its air force having "more advanced targeting and engagement capabilities", the agency adds.

Block 3 Apache
 © Boeing

The proposed Foreign Military Sales deal would also include the delivery of 120 General Electric T700-701D engines, 70 Lockheed Martin APG-78 Longbow fire-control radars and other related systems, the DSCA says.

Boeing delivered the UAE's existing Apaches between 1993 and 1996, says Flightglobal's HeliCAS database.

Source: Flight International