Army, Boeing assessing possible COVID-19 impacts on Apache 'daily'

By Jaspreet Gill / May 8, 2020 at 1:01 PM

The Army and Boeing are assessing daily the potential impacts of coronavirus-related facility closures in India on the delivery of Apache attack helicopters, according to service officials.

"India is probably one of the larger obstacles that we've watched Boeing work through to try to mitigate near term impacts," Col. Tal Sheppard, project manager for Apache attack helicopters, told reporters on a call Wednesday. "We're just working with [Boeing] daily on if and when and which tail number it'll affect so we can understand that and communicate that to our customers who we're delivering it to."

India has manufactured fuselages for the AH-64 Apache since 2016.

Sheppard said the service is watching to see if Boeing will slow down the production line to keep the supply base up.

"They might not have an issue with . . . moving an aircraft through the line, but they might need to slow down in order for other suppliers to keep up instead of coming to a complete halt," he said.

Program Executive Officer for Aviation Pat Mason said the assessment is ongoing "as specifics change on a daily basis based on the conditions that are on the ground, facilities . . . being closed and how efficient they are."

Boeing today in a statement to Inside Defense said it is regularly monitoring the status of worldwide suppliers.

"We're providing timely information to our customers regarding potential changes to scheduled production and planned deliveries that may result from the health issues currently being faced around the globe," a spokeswoman said.