NEW DELHI: American aviation giant Boeing today said it is in talks with Indian firms to manufacture parts of Apache helicopter, a day after it signed a contract with India for 15 Chinook heavy-lift and 22 attack choppers. It said the contract for production, training and support of Apache and Chinook helicopters will greatly enhance India's capabilities across a range of military and humanitarian missions.
India will receive 22 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and 15 CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters. Both are the newest models of those choppers and the first one likely to be handed over to India in the next three to four years.
"This is a milestone in Boeing's expanding commitment to India," Pratyush Kumar, president, Boeing India said in a press statement.
He said the acquisition offers Boeing 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," he said. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had last week said that the contract, which will have a 30 per cent offset clause, will bring in business worth about USD one billion for the Indian Defence industry. He said at least 50 per cent of these would be direct export.
The Apache is a 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 defence forces.
"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.
India is the 14th nation to select the Apache and the 19th nation to select the Chinook. "The Apache and Chinook represent the best of high-performing technologies that will modernise India's defence capabilities," said Dennis Swanson, vice president, Defence, Space & Security in India.
The contract has a clause to place follow-on orders for 11 more Apaches and seven extra Chinooks. The helicopter deal has survived over 10 price validity extensions from the American side with the last one being for a month as desired by India.
While the Chinook helicopter deal is a direct one with the US firm, the one for Apache is a hybrid.
A part of the Apache deal was signed with Boeing for the helicopter and the other with the US government, under Foreign Military Sales route, for its weapons, radars and electronic warfare suites.