The US Army is reportedly in talks with Boeing regarding a new multi-year agreement for the acquisition of an additional 240 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters from 2017 to 2021.
US Army Apache programme manager Colonel Jeff Hager was quoted by Reuters as saying that army acquisition chief Heidi Shyu recently signed a document for the two sides to start work on an agreement, with the aim of receiving approval from the defence secretary by March 2016.
Boeing attack helicopters business development head Mark Ballew said it could include options for foreign military sales of 100 Apaches.
The US Government has already approved Apache sales to Qatar and Indonesia, Ballew added, noting that the helicopter has also drawn interest from other countries.
According to Reuters, lawmakers generally ask military services to demonstrate significant savings compared to the cost of negotiating purchases on a year-by-year basis.
Boeing attack helicopter programmes vice-president Kim Smith said: "We at Boeing have been doing our part to leave no stone unturned."
Meanwhile, Pentagon chief arms buyer Frank Kendall reportedly told the House Armed Services Committee that he favoured multi-year agreements because they allow programme managers to focus on performance, rather than annual contract negotiations.
Powered by two GE T700-701D engines, the AH-64 Apache is primarily used for distributed operations and deep precision strikes against relocatable targets. It can also provide armed reconnaissance when required in day, night, obscured battlefield and adverse weather conditions.
It is used by US, Greece, Japan, Israel, the Netherlands and Singapore.
Image: A US Army AH-64D Apache helicopter at forward operating base in Speicher, Iraq. Photo: courtesy of the US Army, photo by Tech Sgt Andy Dunaway.