Apache helicopters are some of the world’s best military choppers, so unsurprisingly they are also amongst the most expensive in the world, costing anywhere between $60 to $130 million.
These helicopters also carry a high maintenance and operational cost, which, although not fully publicly known, is also said to run in the millions of dollars every year.
As Apache helicopters are such high performance military aircraft, there isn’t a lot of publicly released information regarding their costs, though we can still estimate costs quite accurately.
Table of Contents
- 1 How Much Does An Apache Helicopter Costs
- 2 Cost of Apache Helicopter Variants
- 3 Apache Helicopters Are Expensive to Operate and Maintain
How Much Does An Apache Helicopter Costs
That being said, the exact cost of an Apache helicopter depends on several factors like its variant, the number of choppers being purchased, as well as whether the purchaser has any previous deals with the manufacturer or if they have favorable political ties with the United States.
As such, the average cost of an Apache helicopter will run in the $90 to $100 million range without taking the maintenance and crew costs into account.
This range can go lower or higher depending on the above-mentioned factors, as there is no set market price for a military helicopter.
Cost of Apache Helicopter Variants
1. Boeing AH-64E
The AH-64E Version 6 is the most modern Apache helicopter currently on the market, fully equipped with the most advanced weaponry and technology.
This chopper was designed to integrate L3 communication technology better than previous Apache choppers, so it could be used as an aerial command base.
The AH-64E is also a powerful military chopper with a lethal arsenal of weapons, in addition to being able to launch and control UAVs and drones.
The cost of an AH-64E depends on multiple factors, including what specific weaponry and technology the buyer wants to include, but the average price would be between $120 to $140 million per unit.
2. Boeing AH-64D
The Boeing AH-64D is equipped with a glass cockpit, which most Apache helicopters are not, and this chopper has some of the most advanced sensory devices to currently exist.
The AH-64D was developed to improve survivability in the event of a crash or enemy fire more effectively through use of better sensory equipment.
A sub-variant of the AH-64D was also developed for the Japanese market, where this chopper was modified with stinger air-to-air missiles for self-defense purposes.
The AH-64D does not have any public market costs, but in 2012, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency claimed that 8 of these helicopters were being sold to the Indonesian government for a total of $1.42 billion.
This leads to an average price of $178 million per unit.
3. Boeing AH-64C-100
The Boeing AH-64C was developed as an improved version of the previous AH-64B and AH-64A models. The primary idea was to vastly improve the chopper’s overall defensive abilities.
This chopper has vastly superior speed, range and chances of surviving compared to previous versions of the AH-64 series, so it’s mostly used for high threat military purposes.
The future C upgrade would also correct many of the problems with previous versions, but it was decided to postpone the upgrade to a future D version.
Since the postponement of its upgrade, there have been no official cost estimates.
4. Boeing AH-64B
The AH-64B was the first majorly proposed upgrade to the original Apache helicopter, and this upgrade would have certainly seen some significant improvements, but unfortunately it was canceled by U.S. Congress.
The proposed version would have had better rotor blades, improved GPS and communication technology to make a more lethal weapon on the aerial battlefield.
The AH-64B was never produced for sale, beyond its prototypes. The cost of producing each of these prototypes was approximately $82 million.
5. Boeing AH-64A-100
The Boeing AH-64 was the first produced variant of the Apache helicopter, and this chopper was first unveiled in 1982 as a general attack helicopter for the US military.
In addition to being a general attack helicopter, the AH-64 was designed to be an effective anti-tank machine.
Unlike many other military helicopters of its time, the AH-64A was designed to allow both of its pilots to fly and use weapons independently of each other.
The cost of each AH-64A was between $50 to $60 million in 1982 when it was first released.
Currently, there are no versions of the AH-64A left, as all of them were upgraded to the D variant.
Apache Helicopters Are Expensive to Operate and Maintain
Cost per Hour
The operational cost of an Apache helicopter is not public knowledge, so at best we can estimate it. The most commonly cited statistic is a total operational cost between $2,000 to $4,000 per hour.
Cost of Fuel
Apache helicopters use a variant of military jet fuel, but the details on the exact type are not known publicly.
The amount of fuel used per hour also depends on factors like wind speed and temperature, but it takes an estimated 35 to 30 gallons per hour.
If we use an average estimate of military fuel cost, that means an Apache helicopter costs between $400 to $500 to fuel every flight hour.
Apache helicopters are notoriously expensive to maintain.
In 2018-2019, it is estimated that the maintenance cost of a fleet of 50 Apache MK1 helicopters in the United Kingdom was $44.6 million per annum.
The cost of replacing used weapons like missiles is also not publicly disclosed, but it’s estimated to be within the millions per annum for most countries.
The price of an Apache helicopter depends on numerous factors including the variant, the weapons it is equipped with and how it’s purchased.
That being said, the average Apache helicopter cost typically runs between $65 to $130 million.
The operational and maintenance costs of these choppers costs an additional few million dollars per annum.
Helen Krasner holds a PPL(A), with 15 years experience flying fixed-wing aircraft; a PPL(H), with 13 years experience flying helicopters; and a CPL(H), Helicopter Instructor Rating, with 12 years working as a helicopter instructor.
Helen is an accomplished aviation writer with 12 years of experience, having authored several books and published numerous articles while also serving as the Editor of the BWPA (British Women Pilots Association) newsletter, with her excellent work having been recognized with her nomination of the “Aviation Journalist of the Year” award.
Helen has won the “Dawn to Dusk” International Flying Competition, along with the best all-female competitors, three times with her copilot.