Apache and Black Hawk: helicopters price and waiting time
Ukraine requests Apache and Black Hawk helicopters from the US to strengthen the army's capabilities. Defense Express analyzes how much helicopters currently cost and how long to wait for such equipment
This is actually the first time that Ukraine has officially specified a request to arm the Defense Forces with these attack helicopters, and if it does indeed ever receive these machines, it will be a historic event for the army, Defense Express writes.
Optimism must be tempered by the uncertainty over whether the United States will deliver the desired Apaches on time. The cost and delivery time of these helicopters are critical factors, and an examination of various contracts, such as the recent one with Poland, provides insight into the costs involved and the potential waiting time.
Boeing's announcement in November about the production of AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters for Morocco highlights the lengthy process, with the contract signed over three years ago and the first helicopter expected in 2024. The example of Poland, which approved the sale of 96 AH-64E Apaches for USD 12 billion, including related equipment and weapons, underscores the substantial cost of arming these helicopters.
Australia's case adds complexity, as manufacturing Apache helicopters with Boeing comes at a significant price of EUR 2.67 billion or USD 2.87 billion for 29 AH-64E units, with delivery scheduled between 2025 and 2029. The overarching trend is clear: procuring new weapons is expensive, and waiting times can be impractical, exemplified by the extended delivery schedule for F-35 aircraft.
As for the Black Hawk helicopters, Lockheed Martin plans to continue production until 2070 to meet demand, especially from its subsidiary in Poland. Although Black Hawks are relatively cheaper than Apaches, their prices can still be substantial. In August 2022, for example, the US State Department approved the sale of 40 UH-60M Black Hawks to Australia for $1.95 billion. Lithuania's purchase of four UH-60M Black Hawks in 2020 for $213 million over five years further illustrates the cost considerations.
Despite the cost advantages, delivery time remains a significant factor, taking several years from contract signing to the arrival of the first helicopter. Therefore, the consideration of arming these helicopters should be seen as a prospective measure to reinforce the Ukrainian army with modern machinery.