SAUDI ARABIA had begun taking delivery of its first Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters. Precise details have been difficult to ascertain, due to the usual secrecy surrounding any military contracts with the country. However, at least three AH-64Es have been seen in the country after being airfreighted in on board an An-124 from the factory in Mesa, Arizona, in early September.
According to reports in the Saudi media, they arrived at the same time as the first Saudi pilots and maintainers had completed training on the type. The first helicopters went to the Royal Saudi Land Forces (RSLF), which has 36 of the type on order, with all of its deliveries scheduled for completion by January 2015.
Due to follow are 12 AH-64Es which are on order for the Saudi Arabian National Guard. Deliveries of these are due to begin in Fiscal Year 2015. On addition, the Saudi Arabia Royal Guard had planned to acquire ten, but it is unconfirmed whether a contract has yet been signed for these helicopters.
The AH-64Es will be based at Hafer Al-Batin, King Khaled Military City, which is the current base of the RSLF’s 12 existing AH-64A Apaches. The later were planned for upgrade to AH-64D Block II standard, but it is not known whether this took place. It is possible that the upgrade may have been abandoned, in view of the decision to buy the AH-64E. Alan Warnes