The U.S. State Department approved a possible $3.5 billion sale of AH-64E Apache helicopters to Australia on Thursday, as Canberra continues to invest in its century-plus defense alliance with Washington.
The acquisition is just the latest in a string of Australian defense purchases from U.S. manufacturers including 160 M1A1 tank structures and an additional four Boeing CH-47F cargo helicopters with related equipment, as Breitbart news reported.
According to the the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), Australia’s government sought 29 Apaches and associated equipment — including spare parts, Hellfire Captive Air Training Missiles, M230E1 + M139 AWS automatic gun — as well as training and logistical support.
The prime contractors in the latest program will be Boeing and Lockheed Martin, the DSCA said.
“The proposed sale will improve Australia’s capability to meet current and future threats, and will enhance interoperability with U.S. forces and other allied forces,” the DSCA’s announcement said,