British Army Receives 67th Apache In Ceremony Held At The Farnborough Air Show 2004

21/07/2004
In a landmark ceremony held at the Farnborough Air Show the 67th AH Mk.1 Apache helicopter was formally handed over to the customer by Westland Helicopters. The event marked the conclusion of one of the most complex, yet successful defence acquisition programmes of recent years, with a total of 67 Apache aircraft produced on time and on budget by Westland for the Ministry of Defence. AgustaWestland Managing Director Richard Case handed over the keys of the aircraft to Lord Bach, Minister for Defence Procurement, who accepted them on behalf of the Defence Procurement Agency. In turn the keys were received from Lord Bach by Chief of Defence Staff Lieutenant General Sir Richard Dannatt, who accepted the aircraft into service on behalf of the Army Air Corps. Richard Case told assembled dignitaries and guests that the high-profile Apache programme had been at the forefront of the Government's Smart Acquisition initiative. It had proved to be a groundbreaking experience in the close working relationship developed between industry and the Ministry of Defence. "We have enjoyed a remarkable level of team working with our customer and have jointly worked in setting industry standards in Through Life Management and planning of innovative support arrangements," he said. Team Apache, led by Westland and including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Longbow International. BAES, RRTM and Aerosystems International, had successfully enhanced and improved the capability of the basic US Apache aircraft. Richard Case added: "The Westland team has uniquely ensured the clearance of a US system to the most stringent UK standards. This has been particularly important in the clearance of the Westland Apache's armament systems and UK unique software which has successfully achieved Military Aircraft Release approval. We have proven to the satisfaction of a sophisticated and demanding customer the ability to lead the integration of sophisticated modern systems to delivery maximum operational effectiveness. "We have taken the world's most capable attack helicopter and made it better," said Richard Case. This included the integration of RRTM engines for improved performance, the HIDAS Defensive Aid System for enhanced survivability and a new CRV7 rocket system for improved accuracy and target effect. "The Westland Collective Training System also enables crews to train efficiently and effectively to bring these systems to bear," he added. "We intend to ensure that our record of on-time, on-budget and on specification delivery is continued for the next 30 years of service of this aircraft." The Westland Apache had completed trials in snow conditions and on HMS Ocean, enhancing its capability to operate in extreme climates and in the increasingly important littoral environment.
Lord Bach, in receiving the keys paid tribute to Team Apache and the hundreds of people across industry and defence who had worked tirelessly to deliver the aircraft. "This programme has proved a model for Smart Acquisition. Indeed, Apache was one of the original nine ''flagship'' programmes and has ably demonstrated its status by delivering to time and cost with the required performance," he said. The production programme had remained on track because of the tight management and well developed processes achieved jointly by Westland and the Apache Integrated Programme Team. "Apache is a strong example of what we can do when industry and defence all work together, in a single joint programme, with a very focused task," added Lord Bach.
Commander of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, Sir Richard Dannatt, who accepted the keys from Lord Bach said "The manufacture of the Apache has indeed been an excellent programme, delivering to time, cost and performance and is a tribute to the joint work of all elements of the programme working to a common goal and purpose. Now all the equipment has been delivered, we need to concentrate on developing the full Air and Littoral Manoeuvre Capability, which is central to exploiting the potential of the Apache." The AH Mk.1 Apache will be the cornerstone of the Armed Forces' new Joint Helicopter Command. Created as part of the Strategic Defence Review, the Joint Helicopter Command will focus the joint capabilities of the three Services and enhance the operational effectiveness of the battlefield helicopter. Apache will provide a massive increase in capability both in terms of firepower, communications and combat support.