Fri, Oct 05, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Maintenance costs for Apaches grow to US$30m: MND

By Lo Tien-pin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The military’s maintenance expenditure on its fleet of 30 Boeing AH-64E Apache helicopters has grown to a staggering US$30 million and could continue to rise, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said on Wednesday.

The ministry obtained the fleet, along with munitions, training and equipment — mainly helmets with heads-up displays — for NT$59 billion (US$1.92 million at the current exchange rate) in 2007.

After subtracting munitions and training costs, the overhead per helicopter stands at NT$790 million, a source said, adding that the military’s maintenance fees could be used to purchase one more helicopter for the army.

The last of the AH-64E Apache helicopters were delivered in October 2014, but one of the helicopters was destroyed in a crash in April 2014 during a training flight in Taoyuan.

The ministry said that compared with the maintenance fees for fiscal year 2018, which were NT$320 million, maintenance fees for fiscal year 2019 have nearly tripled.

The ministry would have to foot the maintenance bill because, as of 2015, the fleet is no longer under warranty, it said.

As the AH-64E is the most recent variant of the helicopter family, the US has yet to approve full-scale localized maintenance and repairs for Taiwan, necessitating shipment of parts back to the US, the ministry said.

The ministry said it would continue to petition the US to establish in Taiwan — or authorize Taiwan to establish — an Apache maintenance and repair center similar to the agreement Boeing has with the Saudi Arabia.

Boeing in March signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Arabian Military Industries to base at least 55 percent of the region’s maintenance and repair work for Saudi Arabia.

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