At a ceremony at the Boeing production facility, Air Marshal AS Butola, represented the IAF and accepted the first Apache in the presence of US Government representatives.
Indian Air Force (IAF) was formally handed over the first AH-64E (I) – Apache Guardian helicopter at Boeing production facility in Mesa, Arizona, US. The first batch of the complete attack Apache helicopters in the IAF’s stable will touch the Indian skies in July.
At a ceremony at the Boeing production facility, Air Marshal AS Butola, represented the IAF and accepted the first Apache in the presence of US Government representatives. These helicopters will come in semi-knocked down (SKD) condition, then will be reassembled, retested before being formally inducted in the service.
The 22 helicopters for IAF are coming through the Foreign Military sales for $ 1.1 billion and will replace the Russian Mi-35 (assault helicopter often used to carry troops) and will be based in Pathankot and North East. In the contract signed between the governments of the two countries and M/S Boeing Company, India can order 11 more as a follow-on order.
Video Courtesy: Boeing pic.twitter.com/Ph0PCg9Dxe
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According to IAF, selected aircrew and ground crew have undergone training at the training facilities at US Army base Fort Rucker, Alabama and will lead the operationalisation of the Apache fleet in the IAF.
These flying birds are part of IAF’s modernisation and have been customized to suit the service’s future requirements. While they are suitable in mountainous terrain, these machines have the capability to carry out precision attacks at standoff ranges and operate in hostile airspace with threats from ground.
The ability of these helicopters, to transmit and receive the battlefield picture, to and from the weapon systems through data networking makes it a lethal acquisition. These attack helicopters will provide significant edge in any future joint operations in support of land forces.
According to senior IAF officers, there are going to be two squadrons for the 22 Apache Guardian helicopters and the entire delivery will be completed by March 2020. The Indian private sector too has played a significant role in the production of these birds. Large sections of the machines have been built in India by companies including Dynamatics and the Tata- Boeing joint venture which has built the complete fuselage.
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