Boeing will for the first time engage local companies to supply parts for Australia’s upcoming fleet of 29 AH-64E Apaches.
Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy made the announcement on Wednesday at AVALON, which the government said would generate millions of dollars for Australian businesses.
Australia will procure 29 of the helicopters from 2025 in a deal worth $4.5 billion.
The AH-64E Apache is billed as one of the world’s most advanced multi-role combat helicopters, deployed by Australia’s major strategic allies, including the US, Singapore, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and the UK.
Conroy welcomed the impact this deal would have for Australian industry, saying, “The Albanese government is ensuring that opportunities are maximised for the Australian defence industry as we move to build the defence capability our nation needs for its future security.”
Boeing said Australian companies Cablex and Thomas Global Systems, respectively, will manufacture cabling, and design and manufacture cockpit avionics components for the global fleet of Apaches.
For the Australian fleet of Apaches, four companies — Cablex, Ferra, Axiom Precision Manufacturing and Mincham — were selected to supply wire harnesses, electrical panels, vertical spar box, machined parts, fairings and composites.
The supplier contracts are part of an agreement signed by Boeing and Defence Australia — the agreement also acknowledges the benefit of the Australian Global Supply Chain (GSC) Program that delivers export opportunities into Boeing’s supply chain.
“I was proud to attend the Avalon Airshow today as we work closely with defence industry to deliver critical capabilities in support of Australia’s national interests,” Minister Conroy said.
“It’s wonderful to see strong Australian industry involvement in producing the Ghost Bat — the first Australian-designed, developed, and manufactured military combat aircraft in half a century.”
Major General Jeremy King, head of Defence’s Joint Aviation Systems Division, said, “Defence has worked diligently with US Army, Boeing, and local industry to ensure we are providing the best capability for the Australian Defence Force.
“We look forward to continuing to work together through this agreement signed today to seek further opportunities for local industry involvement in both the production of Australia’s Apaches and the broader global fleet product and support activities,” MAJGEN King added.
These production opportunities set a foundation for longer-term Australian industry support to the Apache program, enabling the growth of the rotary wing industry and embedding Australian companies in global supply chains.