Pathankot, Sep 3: Indian Air Force (IAF) on Tuesday formally inducted eight US-made Apache AH-64E attack helicopters at Air Force Station here.
IAF Chief ACM BS Dhanoa inducted one of the world’s most advanced multi-role combat helicopters. Speaking at the induction ceremony, ACM Dhanoa 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."
"These aircraft have been modified specifically to suit the exacting standards demanded by the IAF. I am happy to note that the delivery schedule is on time with 8 helicopters already being delivered,” the IAF Chief added. In 2015, the IAF had signed a multi-billion dollar contract with the US government and Boeing Ltd for supply of 22 Apache helicopters.
The first four of the 22 helicopters was handed over to the air force by Boeing on July 27. The helicopters were delivered into two batches over the months of last two months. The last batch of choppers will be delivered by March 2020. This attack helicopters are the most modern variant of the Apache helicopters.
The chopper is capable of delivering variety of weapons which include air to ground Hellfire missiles, 70 mm Hydra rockets and air to air stinger missiles. It also carries one 30 mm chain gun with 1200 rounds as part of area weapon system. To add lethality of the chopper, it carries fire control radar, which has 360 degree 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 IAF fleet. In 2017, the government had finalised the acquisition of an additional six Apache helicopters for the Indian Army.
Boeing has so far delivered more than 2,200 Apaches to customers around the world since the aircraft entered production. (UNI)