Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Apache, Black Hawk helicopter sales moving ahead

An AH-64D Apache helicopter soars during an exercise
Little by little, Taiwan is quietly acquiring the defense items that were included in arms sales packages released by the US since 2008 

Two US companies have won contracts to produce utility and attack helicopters for the military, in separate bids that will run through the end of 2014. 

In a press release on Friday, Boeing Co said it had received a US$171.8 million firm-fixed-price contract to deliver AH-64D Apache Block III helicopters for the Taiwanese military. Although the announcement did not specify the number of helicopters, it comes after Longbow Limited Liability Co, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp and Northrop Grumman Corp, won a contract in January for 15 Block III Longbow Fire Control Radar (FCR) systems for Taiwan, which at the time was the first international client for the advanced target acquisition system. Given this, analysts conclude that the Boeing contract involves 15 airframes, out of the 30 included in the US$6.4 billion arms package announced by the US in October 2008. 

Taiwan has yet to place an order for the AGM-114L Hellfire missiles included in the package. Unless it does so, the Apache’s FCR capabilities will be essentially useless, a defense source has told the Taipei Times.

UH-60M utility helicopter
Meanwhile, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp announced it had received a US$43.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for engineering services to convert four UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters “to the specific unique configuration for Taiwan.”

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

No comments: