Global News

Indian Army to buy Apache attack helicopters for the first time

Indian Army to buy Apache attack helicopters for the first time

India on Thursday cleared the purchase of six more Boeing Co Apache helicopters in a deal worth close to 42 billion rupees ($654.6 million), a defence ministry official said.

After the government, finalised the deal for 22 Apache helicopters for the Indian Air Force, the Army had been pushing for follow on orders of 11 choppers for it, arguing that the ground forces need them considering the changing security scenario in the region.

The AH-64E Apache helicopters will come with associated equipment including spares, training and ammunition.

The go ahead was given at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley. Former Air Force Chief N.A.K. Browne had said as per a Joint Army Air Instruction (JAAI) of 1986, the IAF would operate helicopters of all kinds and Army's charter was limited to light utility helicopters. The IAF also maintained that two Services flying helicopters will duplicate the effort of maintenance.

In 2014, the MoD had an in-principle agreement allow attack helicopters for the Army.

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In September 2015, India, the United States government and Boeing signed a almost $3-billion deal for the acquisition of 22 Apache attack helicopters and 15 Chinook choppers.

Besides, Apache, DAC also cleared a proposal to procure two gas turbine engines for naval ships at a cost of Rs 490 crore.

Sources in army headquarters said the AH-64 Apache, used in the Gulf War and Afghanistan, is one of the world's most advanced multi-role combat helicopters, equipped with advanced weapons systems and night fighting features. Till now, the Army has only "non-armed" helicopters.

Boeing has delivered more than 2,200 Apaches to worldwide customers. Washington, earlier in March, inked a $3.4 billion deal with the company for 268 Apaches.

The Indian Army plans to deploy these helicopters with its three Strike Corps which are an amalgamation of tanks and artillery firepower.


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