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Boeing's Saudi Arabia Contract Work To Be Done In Mesa

Boeing was awarded a multibillion dollar U.S. Army contract Thursday to supply Apache helicopters to the Saudi Arabian government.

The foreign military sales contract, valued at $3.2 billion, will pay for up to 11 AH-64E attack helicopters, Boeing’s latest version of the AH-64, the U.S. Army’s heavy division attack helicopter, equipped with target and night vision systems.

Kim Smith is vice president of attack helicopters for Boeing and says Mesa’s climate continues to be a draw.

“We can very quickly get to high altitudes. We can very quickly get to some of our customers proving grounds," Smith said.

Proving grounds as in weapons training areas. Smith says the Apache is a multimission aircraft.

“It can scout a given area, it can do reconnaissance and of course with it’s attack, it has weapons capability that can be configured in various ways,” Smith said.

The AH-64 Apache is considered the primary attack helicopter for multiple nations including Israel, Japan, South Korea and Britain, among others.

Boeing’s Mesa facility will carry all work for the contract, which includes building new helicopters, ground support equipment and engineering services. Work is expected to be completed by 2022.

Heather van Blokland was a host at KJZZ from 2016 to 2021.