New Delhi. Indian Air Force (IAF) Septemebr three took a major step towards boosting its combat capability with the induction of AH-64E Apache Attack Helicopter into its inventory at Air Force Station Pathankot at a function where Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa, Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of the Air Staff was the Chief guest.
Speaking on the occasion, the Air Chief said “Apache attack helicopters are being purchased to replace the Mi-35 fleet. 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. Apaches have been an integral part of numerous historic campaigns worldwide. These aircraft have been modified specifically to suit the exacting standards demanded by IAF. I am happy to note that the delivery schedule is on time with eight helicopters already being delivered.”
IAF has signed a contract with ‘The Boeing Company’ and US Government for 22 Apache Attack Helicopters. The first eight helicopters have been delivered on schedule and the last batch of helicopters is to be delivered by March 2020. These helicopters will be deployed in the Western regions of India.
The helicopter is capable of delivering variety of weapons which include air to ground Hellfire missiles, 70 mm Hydra rockets and air to air Stinger missiles. Apache also carries one 30 mm chain gun with 1200 rounds as part of area weapon sub system. To add to the lethality of the helicopter, it carries fire control radar, which has a 360° coverage and nose mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems.
The addition of Apache Attack Helicopter is a significant step towards modernisation of Indian Air Force helicopter fleet. This procurement will enhance the capability of IAF in providing integrated combat aviation cover to the army strike corps. These tandem seating helicopters can operate day and night, all weather capable and have high agility and survivability against battle damage. These are easily maintainable even in field conditions and are capable of prolonged operations in tropical and desert regions.