NEW DELHI: The Army’s long wait to get its own attack helicopters will be over early next year.
“The Apache deal will be cleared early next year. The file is with the Cabinet Committee on Security,” said a senior officer aware of the deal says.
The Army is to get a total of six Apache AH-64E (I) attack helicopters. While the contract for supplying these helicopters for the IAF was signed in September 2015, the acquisition of additional six Apaches for the Army was cleared in 2017.
The AH-64E (I)-Apache Guardian helicopters have been customised to suit Indian requirements and will be used as part of the strike formations of the Army. India presently has three strike corps.
The helicopter has 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. All 28 of these helicopters will provide significant edge in any joint operations in support of land forces.
During the formal induction of the helicopter into the IAF in September, the then Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa had said, “Alongside the capability to shoot fire and forget anti-tank guided missiles, air-to-air missiles, rockets and other ammunitions, it also has modern EW capabilities to provide versatility to helicopter in a network-centric aerial warfare.”
The Apaches are all-weather capable and have high agility and survivability against battle damage. These are said to be easily maintainable even in field conditions and are capable of prolonged operations in tropical and desert regions.