Indian Air Force (IAF) is getting ready to receive the first set of four Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopter two months from now. The $ 1.1 billion worth 22 helicopters which will replace the Russian Mi-35 (assault helicopter used to carry troops) are expected to be based in Pathankot and North East. The Apache helicopter is the first ever complete attack helicopter in IAF’s stable.
There will be two squadrons of 22 AH-64E Apache attack machines that India has ordered from the US based company which is expected to complete the delivery by March 2020. The AH-64E Apache helicopter has a tandem cockpit for two, twin shaft and tail wheel-type landing gear arrangement.
Indian private sector companies have played critical role in the production of these machines which are made in the US but large sections of the machines have been built by companies including Dynamatics and the Tata- Boeing joint venture in Hyderabad which has built the complete fuselage.
Currently, the helicopters are being flown by the US army and have the latest technologies including joint digital operability, improved survivability and cognitive decision aiding. These multi role helicopters can also be used in not only humanitarian and disaster-relief operations.
The Trump administration had put its stamp of approval for the sale of these helicopters which are coming through the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) in 2018, before the first ever 2+2 India US Strategic Dialogue took place in New Delhi. The contract signed between the governments of the two countries also has an inbuilt clause for follow-on orders for 11 more Apaches.
The US administration has also approved the sales of fire control radars, Hellfire Longbow missiles, Stinger Block I-92H missiles, night vision sensors, and inertial navigation systems. The helicopter has the capability to fire the Hellfire missiles and its arsenal of 70mm rockets.
The helicopters will come to India in semi knocked down (SKD) condition and will be reassembled in India, and re-tested before being formally sent to their bases across the country.