In a major breakthrough to India’s defence arsenal, the US aerospace Boeing on Saturday delivered the first four of the 22 Apache attack helicopters to the Indian Air Force (IAF), which will be followed by delivery of an additional batch of four choppers by next week.
The AH-64E helicopters comprise latest technology insertions at the Hindan airbase came nearly four years after a multi-billion dollar deal was sealed between the two countries.
Once the second batch comprising four more Apache helicopters is delivered, the eight choppers will be moved to Pathankot Air Force station for their formal induction by IAF in September.
The AH-64E Apache is one of the world’s most advanced multi-role combat helicopters and is flown by the US Army. In September 2015, the IAF had signed a multi-billion dollar contract with the US government and Boeing Ltd for 22 Apache helicopters. Additionally, the Defence Ministry in 2017 approved the procurement of six Apache helicopters along with weapons systems from Boeing at a cost of Rs 4,168 crore for the Army. This will be the first fleet of attack helicopters.
Boeing has delivered over 2,200 Apaches to customers around the world since the aircraft entered production and India is the 14th nation to select for its military. By 2020, the IAF will operate a fleet of 22 Apaches and these first deliveries are ahead of schedule.
Further enhancing the military ties between the two nations, the US has approved foreign military sales worth USD 670 million to support India’s C-17 military transport aircraft. Meanwhile, Donald Trump-led US administration on Friday approved foreign military sales worth USD 670 million to support India’s C-17 military transport aircraft.