India had to scramble to ink two contracts for 22 Apache attack helicopters and 15 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters with the US government and US aviation giant Boeing Company. The price validity for the two deals, cumulatively worth $3.1 billion, was expiring on September 30.
And to meet this deadline, the cabinet committee on defence headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved the deal before he departed on his week long visit to the US.
The MoD finalised an order with Boeing for 22 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and 15 CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters. The contracts provide for production, training and support that will greatly enhance India’s capabilities across a range of military and humanitarian missions.
India is the 14th nation to select the Apache and the 19th to select the Chinook.
“This is a milestone in Boeing’s expanding commitment to India,” said Pratyush Kumar, president, Boeing India. “This acquisition enhances the Indian Air Force’s capabilities and offers us an opportunity to further accelerate ‘Make in India’. Large sections of the Chinook fuselage are already manufactured in India and discussions are ongoing with our Indian partners to make Apache parts.”
Interestingly, Bengaluru-based defence and aerospace SME Dynamatic Technologies is producing aft pylon and cargo ramp assemblies for Boeing’s CH-47F Chinook. The commitment of Boeing and Dynamatic to ‘Make in India’ was highlighted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his inaugural address at Aero India 2015 in Bengaluru. In 2013, Boeing placed its first H-47 Chinook helicopter contract in India with Dynamatic for aft-pylon and cargo ramp assemblies.
The Apache and Chinook represent the best of high-performing technologies that will modernise India’s defense capabilities,” said Dennis Swanson, vice-president, Boeing Defense, Space & Security in India.
The Apache is the world’s leading multi-role attack helicopter. The AH-64E Apache, the most modern variant also flown by the US Army, features enhanced performance, joint digital operability, improved survivability and cognitive decision-aiding.
The CH-47F Chinook is an advanced multi-mission helicopter operated by the US army and 18 other defense forces. The Chinook has proven its ability to operate in the range of conditions that typify the Indian subcontinent, including delivering heavy payloads to high altitudes.
“These new aircraft will provide world-class capabilities to meet the Indian Air Force’s missions today, tomorrow and well into the future,” said David Koopersmith, vice-president and general manager, Boeing Vertical Lift division. “This agreement represents another major step forward in our long and successful relationship with India.”