Army Air Corps Apache attack helicopter takes off from the deck of the Royal Navy's amphibious assault helicopter carrier HMS Ocean - photo UK MoD
November 10, 2013 by martin – Think Defence
Due to the ongoing sequestration and budget battle in Washington the US Army has been forced to delay its Apache new build and rebuild programs to AH 64 E standards. This means the current type as used by the British Army is likely to be supported for longer giving the MOD some vital breathing space to decide what to do about its Apaches.
Currently UK thinking seems to be slanted towards going for a rebuild on the current fleet but reported costs for the US program would put a rebuild on the entire UK Apaches fleet some where north of $600 million which is probably not something the MOD can consider for the next few years at the very least.
However as the rebuild will see the fuselage and main rotor replaced, if it was to go ahead would it be worth the UK looking at a marinised version? The aircraft is said to have performed very well from Ocean but it has some severe maintenance issues when being used in a salt water environment. Could a rebuild offer us the chance to solve some of these issues and produce a truly purple asset.