NEW DELHI: Adding attack capability to the Indian Air Force (IAF) amidst the continuing standoff along the Line of Actual Control with the Chinese Army, US has delivered the final batch of Apache attack helicopters to India. Aviation major Boeing said on Friday that it has completed delivery of all AH-64E Apache. In addition also all the CH-47F (I) Chinook heavy lift helicopters have reached Indian recently.
The Boeing said on Friday, "The final five of the 22 Apache attack helicopters were handed over to the IAF at Air Force Station, Hindan." It added that the delivery of the last five of 15 CH-47F (I) Chinook heavy-lift helicopters to the IAF was completed earlier in March.
India has deployed its fighters including the Sukhoi 30, MiG 29, Mirage 2000 and Apache attack helicopters at the frontline bases after the clash between the Chinese and Indian soldiers on June 15 which resulted in casualties on both sides. The army had moved forward with tanks and artillery guns to match the Chinese deployments in early May.
The Apache is said to be the most modern attack helicopters meant to take place of the existing fleet of Mi-35 choppers meant for assault and anti armour operations. The AH-64E Apache is designed and equipped the latest communications, navigation, sensor and weapon systems.
It has an improved Modernized Target Acquisition Designation System that provides day, night and all-weather target information, as well as night vision navigation capability. Its Fire Control Radar can classify air and ground targets and can operate in the maritime environment. It can be sued for multi missions like for reconnaissance, security, peacekeeping operations, apart from attack operations.
The first eight US-made Apache AH-64E multi-role combat helicopters were inducted into the Indian Air Force at Pathankot Air Base on September 3, 2019 as part of the Helicopter Unit (HU) 125 Squadron (Gladiators). The second HU 137 Squadron is based out of Jorhat, Assam.
The Ministry of Defence finalized its order for the production, training and support of 22 AH-64E Apache and 15 CH-47F (I) Chinook helicopters in September 2015. Earlier this year, India and the US signed a contract for the acquisition of six Apaches for the Indian Army during US President Donald Trump’s visit to New Delhi.
The First four Chinooks had reached India on March 25 2019 at Chandigarh and are twin rotor heavy lift, multi-mission transport. These helicopters can carry max payload of 11 tonnes and 45 troops. Total 15 helicopters have joined the force with second Squadron based out of Dinjan, Assam.
As per Boeing, India is one of 17 nations operating the Apache which have been tailor made to suite the IAF’s requirements. Twin rotor Chinooks have been operating for more than 50 years and 20 defence forces around the world either have Chinooks in service, or are on contract to receive them.