波音发现，在亚洲地区的新加坡和日本这两个潜在客户市场，当前的AH-64D Longbow Apache直升机运营商对依照AH-64E Guardian标准来改制自己的直升机越来越感兴趣。
Boeing is seeing increased interest from current AH-64D Longbow Apache operators to remanufacture their helicopters to the AH-64E Guardian standard, with Singapore and Japan as potential clients in Asia.
Terry Jamison, Boeing senior manager for vertical lift, global sales and marketing, also hinted that the company has signed a letter of agreement (LOA) with a new customer and is working towards signing another. The undisclosed nations are in Africa and the Asia-Pacific.
The U.S. State Department cleared the sale of 10 AH-64Es to Egypt in November 2018, which could be the African state that signed the LOA. Bangladesh reportedly has selected the Guardian, although it has not cleared the State Dept. as a foreign military sale (FMS); the program could cover eight to 10 helicopters.
Jamison said Boeing has won three campaigns based on price, thanks to the U.S. Army’s multi-year buy of 791 aircraft, which was able to bring down the unit cost of the Guardian. Furthermore, prices can be kept low if the customer opts for the U.S. Army configuration, and radar/shooter pairing ratio of 1:3.
Jamison added that every current D-model customer has approached Boeing to make the transition to the E model, as the obsolescence of parts will make sustainment more expensive. He said the U.S. Army will complete the transition to the Guardian in three years, after which costs will increase for the D model, although Boeing has said it will continue to support its customers.
“There is a very active campaign in Singapore for the D-model upgrade,” he said. “They are looking at their timeline and we are waiting to see what their priorities are.”
He added that Boeing’s work to upgrade some of Singapore’s fleet of 20 Apaches with satellite communications and defensive suites will be complete in “weeks” and these upgraded platforms also will be remanufactured to the E standard.
Japan also is likely to go the FMS route to upgrade its 12 AH-64Ds, and although it has a long-term AH-X program for 60 aircraft, Jamision thinks that number could drop to 48 if the Apache is chosen. Nonetheless, the company’s immediate goal is to secure the upgrade deal.
The AH-64E remanufacture process includes the integration of a Link-16 datalink, improved T700-GE-701D engines, new transmission, certification with unmanned aircraft systems and the AN/APG-78 Longbow fire control radar with Version 6 software that has range of 16 km (10 mi.) and naval detection and engagement capability.
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