Poland cleared to acquire 96 AH-64E Guardian attack helicopters for $12 billion

U.S. Army photo

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency, responsible for the export of US military equipment, recommended to Congress the sale of 96 Boeing AH-64E Guardian attack helicopters to Poland. 

The Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract estimated at $12 billion (€11 billion) also includes logistical support, spare parts, training, and a large array of weapons, including 1,844 AGM-114R2 Hellfire anti-tank missiles, 460 AGM-179A Joint Air-to-Ground Missiles (JAGM) and 508 Stinger 92K Block I missiles. 

“According to my agreements with Secretary of Defense L. Austin, until the procedures are completed and the purchased helicopters are delivered to Poland, the US military will provide us with Apache helicopters from its own resources,” Mariusz Błaszczak, Poland’s Minister of National Defense, said on X (formerly known as Twitter).

Eight AH-64E Guardian attack helicopters will be transferred from the US Army in order to accelerate the induction of the aircraft by the Polish armed forces. 

Poland to become the second-largest operator of the Apache after the US 

The AH-64E Apache Guardian is the latest and most advanced variant of the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter series. The AH-64E is an upgraded version of the earlier AH-64D Apache Longbow variant with upgraded engines, and new composite rotor blades. 

The Apache Guardians will replace and expand Poland’s aging fleet of around 30 Soviet-made Mi-24 Hind gunships.  

The Kruk (Polish for Raven) program, intended to find a replacement, was initiated in 2014. Five attack helicopters were considered, namely the Airbus Tiger, the Leonardo AW249, the TAI T129, the Boeing AH-64E and the Bell AH-1Z. In April 2022, Boeing’s and Bell’s offers were shortlisted.  

Finally, on September 8, 2022, Poland officialized the selection of the Boeing AH-64E attack helicopter, also increasing the scope of the order from 32 to 96 aircraft. This decision was in line with a significant splurge of defense spending Poland initiated following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.   

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