IAF Inducts Eight Apache Attack Helicopters

Pathankot:  Eight US-made Apache stealth attack helicopters were inducted into the Indian Air Force on Tuesday, significantly boosting the force’s firepower capability at a time India faces complex security challenges including cross border terrorism.

The eight helicopters, manufactured by aerospace major Boeing, were part of a multi-billion dollar deal India struck with the US for 22 Apache AH-64E choppers nearly four years ago.

In a brief address after induction of the fleet, Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa said procurement of choppers with latest technology was a “significant step” towards modernisation of the IAF.

“The Apache helicopters will enhance the operational capabilities of the IAF,” he said at this strategically located air-base, adding that the fleet will be deployed in India’s western region.

The induction of the Apache fleet came over six months after India carried out an air strike deep inside Balakot in Pakistan, and amid demands by the IAF to further bolster its combat capabilities to deal effectively deal with any external security threat.

The AH-64E Apache is one of the world’s most advanced multi-role combat helicopters and is flown by the US Army. The choppers are customised to suit IAF’s future requirements.

The Apaches also have a fully integrated digital cockpit which enhances its mission performance. It is uniquely suited for reconnaissance, security, peacekeeping operations, and lethal attack across myriad environments without reconfiguration

In a statement, Boeing said India is the 16th nation to procure the Apache, and that it is receiving the most advanced variant, of the chopper.

“Boeing is committed to supporting the modernisation requirements of the Indian armed forces and maintaining them to be mission-ready,” said Salil Gupte, president of Boeing India.

“We are confident that the Apaches will be an indispensable asset to the Indian Air Force. We will continue our efforts to deliver advanced capabilities to India’s defence forces,” added Gupte.