The Indian Air Force (IAF) is getting ready to induct the first batch of the AH-64E (I) – Apache Guardian helicopter in its stable next month.
The entire delivery of these helicopters will be completed by March 2020. The Indian private sector has a significant role in the production of these attack helicopters.
On Monday, Indian company Rossell Techsys delivered a high-quality component — the 1000th electrical panel for the AH-64 Apache to Boeing. The company has been a long-standing Boeing supplier in India, since 2013 and the contract for AH-64 Apache components were awarded in March 2017 and another contract for the V-22 Osprey components in August of the same year. Earlier this year the company had delivered the 15,000th wire harness to Boeing for the AH-64 Apache.
Says Salil Gupte, president, Boeing India, “Boeing remains committed to investing in India’s supplier capability and a local work-force across manufacturing engineering services, training and skills development, to create a world-class aerospace ecosystem in India.”
In an earlier interaction, Boeing officials had told Financial Express Online that Boeing has invested significantly in the development of a robust aerospace ecosystem in India with over 160 existing industrial partners.
Large sections have of the machines have been built in India by companies including Bengaluru based Dynamatic Technologies Ltd, which was one of the first companies in the private sector in 2010 to be approved by Boeing to be a supplier and the Tata- Boeing joint venture which has built the complete fuselage.
The helicopters are expected to reach an Indian port later this month in semi-knocked down (SKD) condition, which will be reassembled, and will be re-tested before they get formally inducted in the IAF service.
India has purchased these 22 Boeing helicopters through the Foreign Military sales for $ 1.1 billion from the US and is expected to replace the existing Russian Mi-35 (assault helicopter which is used to carry troops). These flying machines will be based in Pathankot and North East.
According to the contract signed between the governments of India and the US and M/S Boeing Company, there is also a clause for a follow on order for 11 more machines.
Both air and ground crew have undergone intensive training at the training facilities at US Army base Fort Rucker, Alabama. These trained men have been identified to lead the operationalization of the Apache fleet in the IAF.
To suit the future requirements of the IAF, these machines which are part of the modernization efforts have been customized for the air force.
Besides being useful for operations in the mountainous terrain, they also have the capability to carry out precision attacks at ranges and can operate in hostile airspace with threats from the ground.
Through data networking, these helicopters can transmit and receive the battlefield picture, to and from the weapon systems, thus making it a lethal acquisition. They will also provide a significant edge to the IAF in any future joint operations in support of land forces. Also, sales of the fire control radars, Hellfire Longbow missiles, Stinger Block I-92H missiles, night vision sensors, and inertial navigation systems have been approved by the US administration.