The Australian government has announced that it is expanding its fleet of helicopters with 12 new MH-60R Romeo maritime helicopters and 29 new AH-64E Apache Armed Reconnaissance helicopters.

The announcement, made on May 9, 2022, said that the new fleet, which comprises total investment of AUD 8 billion ($5 billion) will create around 300 jobs at Australia’s Navy and Army.

The 12 new Romeo helicopters will be based at HMAS Albatross, along with a 13th Romeo to replace one that the government lost in 2021. This investment is worth more than AUD 2.5 billion ($1.74 billion) () and will replace the Navy's existing Taipan fleet. 

The Australian government said that it has also set aside up to $250 million (AUD360 million) to expand facilities at HMAS Albatross to house the expanded fleet.

The Government is also investing AUD 5.5 billion ($3.8 billion) to acquire and operate the Apaches for the Army, which will replace its existing Tiger helicopters, and will also spend up to AUD 500 million ($349 million) to upgrade facilities to support the new Apache helicopters.

Boeing said in a statement that it welcomes the Australian government’s decision to acquire 29 AH-64E Apache helicopters.

The American aircraft manufacturer said that the AH-64E Apache, “provides Australia with a low-risk, fully-integrated, battle-proven capability which is interoperable with Australia’s key allies.” 

Boeing said that it endeavors to deliver the Australian Apache from 2025 to support the Australian government’s target of initial operating capability in late 2026.

“Boeing will continue to expand its industry capability and supply chain in Australia by selecting Australian suppliers to support this critical program,” Boeing Defense Australia Managing Director Scott Carpendale said in a statement

“Our Australian industry strategy includes delivering sovereign in-service support for Apache as Boeing Defence Australia has successfully done for the CH-47 Chinook, F/A-18 Super Hornet, EA-18 Growler and P-8A Poseidon.”

Carpendale added: “Further, we will offer additional opportunities for Australian industry including a contract to produce crew doors for the Australian Apaches, as well as all new Apache aircraft orders for the life of the program.”

 
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