US approves modernization of Egyptian AH-64E Apache Guardian standard helicopter gunships

The US State Department has authorized the modernization of the Egyptian Apache helicopter fleet to the AH-64E Apache Guardian standard. The Foreign Military Sale (FMS) agreement covers 43 cells and their associated equipment, i.e. the entire fleet of AH-64D Apache currently operated by the Egyptian Air Force. The deal is valued at $ 2,3 billion. As always, with FMS, however, it is only a question of export authorizations, and not of a definitive contract. The terms of the latter remain to be negotiated, and could concern a smaller number of helicopters or even a smaller stock of spare parts. It could also be accompanied by a second contract for the arming of the devices. Even if a priori the Boeing AH-64E will take over the basic armament of the AH-64D currently in service in Egypt, the Apache Guardian remains tailor-made for firing APKWS laser-guided rockets.

Doubt also persists over the sensors that will be integrated into the Egyptian AH-64Es. Indeed, the 35 AH-64A modernized to the AH-64D standard from 2003 are not equipped with the Longbow radar, which Washington refused to export at the time. For the moment, the integration of the improved radar of the Apache Guardian does not seem to be mentioned by the MoD, but if its export could be authorized later. In all cases, the Longbow radar remains optional on the Apache helicopter. While it offers better capabilities for saturated anti-tank or anti-ship attacks, it has little interest in air support and counterinsurgency operations.

Apache Guardian equipped with a Longbow radar above the main rotor. Its main sensor remains the electro-optical suite placed in the nose.

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