The Indian Army is set to induct US-made AH-64E Apache 'tank-killer' attack helicopters starting from February next year, reported The Hindu.
Earlier in 2020, the Indian Army signed a deal with the United States aviation major Boeing to purchase six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters at a cost of $930 million.
It is worth noting that the Indian Air Force (IAF) already operates 22 AH-64E Apaches, which were initially procured in 2015 under a contract worth approximately $1.4 billion.
According to the report by The Hindu, the first helicopter is scheduled for delivery in February 2024, with the remaining five to be delivered by April 2024.
“The first Apache attack helicopter is scheduled to be delivered in February 2024. As part of the deal, six pilots and 24 technicians were trained by Boeing in the US. Delivery of all six Apaches would be completed by April 2024,” the report quoted an official as saying.
Additionally, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), set to meet next week, is expected to approve a deal worth Rs 45,000 crore for the purchase of 156 light combat helicopters (LCH) named 'Prachand' — 90 for the army and 66 for the IAF — from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
The new Apache 'tank-killer' attack helicopters will further enhance the army's aviation attack capabilities and will be stationed in the desert sector opposite Pakistan.
The army has already inducted a squadron of LCH Prachand helicopters — 351 Army Aviation at Missamari, Assam, in the eastern sector, opposite China.
The LCH Prachand is a twin-engine attack helicopter specially designed to operate in the high-altitude regions of Ladakh, with unique capabilities to take off and land from helipads as high as 16,000 feet while carrying a substantial combat load.
It is equipped with a cannon mounted below its nose, capable of firing a thousand 20-millimetre bullets per minute. Additionally, it carries 70-millimetre rockets on pods on either side and can be armed with an air-to-air missile and an anti-armour missile.
European firm MBDA's Mistral air-to-air missile has been successfully test-fired from the LCH, and HAL has procured and integrated Mistral-specific launchers on the platform.
On the other hand, Apache helicopters are equipped with Hellfire precision-strike missiles and air-to-air Stinger missiles.
Among the IAF's 22 Apaches, 11 are equipped with the Longbow fire control radar system. Alongside the Longbow radars, these missiles have the capability to effectively engage enemy armoured units.
The Apache's chin-mounted gun can fire 625 armour-penetrating bullets per minute, making it highly effective against various targets.
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.