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New Delhi: Eight Apache helicopters will be inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) at the Pathankot Air Base in Punjab on Tuesday.

"Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa will induct the choppers in a ceremony at the Pathankot air base. Other senior officials of the Air Force will also be present during the function," a senior IAF official told IANS.

It had earlier been speculated that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will be the guest of honour at the induction ceremony. However, Defence Ministry officials on Monday said that he will not be present as he is currently on an official tour of Japan and South Korea, aimed at strengthening bilateral defence co-operation.

The eight choppers had been delivered in India in two batches over the months of July and August. Boeing, the US-based manufacturer of Apache helicopters, had delivered the first batch of four choppers on July 27 at the Hindon Air Base in Ghaziabad.

Subsequently, a second batch of four choppers had also been delivered at the Hindon Air Base.

All eight choppers are of the AH-64 variant, which are the most modern variant of the Apache. Boeing has delivered the eight helicopters ahead of schedule.

The Defence Ministry had finalised the order for production, training and support of 22 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters in 2015. Two years later, the Central government cleared the acquisition of an additional six Apache choppers for the Indian Army.

By 2020, Boeing will hand over the entire fleet of 22 Apaches to the air force.

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