The Netherlands on Friday signed a letter of offer and acceptance for the upgrade of its fleet of 28 Boeing AH-64D Apache attack helicopters at a cost of $1.19 billion.
On September 14, Ambassador Hoekstra joined Principal Director of Security Assistance at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency Michèle Hizon, and Dutch State Secretary for Defense Barbara Visser at Gilze-Rijen Air Base for a signing ceremony.
Secretary Visser said “Reinforcing the armed forces is in full swing. This contract signing is a good example of this. Our operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Mali have demonstrated the importance of Apaches. With this modernization our Apaches remain the versatile combat helicopters that our armed forces need.”
The current Apaches have become technically and operationally out of date after 20 years of service. During the overhaul, the fleet will receive new hulls, transmissions, and rotor blades. In addition, the power of the engines will be increased and they will be better able to fly in bad weather conditions. Other countries that use the Apache are also carrying out this modernization, which makes international cooperation easier.
The first aircraft will be modernized beginning in 2021. By mid-2022, the first modernized Apaches will be reintroduced to the fleet.