The Indian Air Force (IAF) has received the first set of Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian Attack Helicopters. They arrived at Hindon Airbase on Saturday. Four more of these will arrive next week. The IAF will receive the complete set of 22 helicopters by 2020.
Considered to be the world’s most advanced multi-role helicopter, Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian is used by the United States’ Army among other air forces across the globe. India is said to be the 14th customer for this model of helicopter. In total, Boeing has delivered around 2,200 helicopters for various countries.
The set of helicopters for India are customized to suit the country’s requirements. These combat helicopters can be used for various kinds of missions as they come with a wide range of capabilities. The helicopters for India will have enhanced thrust, lift, digital operability, improved sustainability, and cognitive decision aiding. The helicopter comes with a laser and infrared systems for day and night operations and armed with air to surface Hellfire missiles, 70 mm rockets and an automatic cannon.
Air Force will most likely move the first eight helicopters received this year to Pathankot Air Force Station. They will be taken for service after a series of tests, mostly by August-September. “The helicopters will be handed over to us after proper assembling at a later date, following which they will be inducted into the Air Force,” said an IAF official.
The first successful set of tests for these helicopters happened in July 2018. IAF men and pilots started the training soon after the tests in the US in 2018.
The Defense Ministry had finalized the order for production, training and support of 22 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters in 2015. Indian Army will buy an additional of six Apaches for army requirements as IAF would not share its assets with the Army. The Central Government approved the acquisition for the Army in 2017.