Sunday, June 11, 2017

Warplanes: India Arranges A Truce Over Who Flies What

In May 2017 the Indian government finally approved the purchase of 39 American AH-64E Apache helicopter gunships. These will equip three army strike squadrons and comes after a prolonged battle with the Indian Air Force over who would control AH-64s. This was important for the army because the AH-64 is the most popular and combat proven helicopter gunship available. It is already used by Israel and several Arab nations. India has ordered 72 AH-64s with some of them going to the air force. This is all about politics. Air force leaders insist they should control everything that flies. But experience in combat has shown that some types of aircraft, especially those that spend most of their time supporting army operations should be controlled by the army.
The AH-64 was also opposed by politicians who wanted Indian firms to design and build a helicopter gunship. But commanders involved in combat operations all agreed that they needed the best available and they needed it as quickly as possible. That led to the AH-64, which entered service as the AH-64A in 1986. Numerous planned upgrades to the “B” and “C” standard were planned during the 1990s but stalled because of budget reductions after the Cold War ended in 1991. These upgrades were incorporated in the 1997 AH-64D Block I. The AH-64D Longbow (because of the radar mast, making it possible to see ground targets and flying obstacles in all weather) models began appearing in 2002. Mass production of the latest version (the E model) and conversion D models to E began in late 2013. The U.S. Army began receiving AH-64Es in 2012.
10/06/17 Strategy Page

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