Sunday, May 12, 2019

Indian Air Force accepts Apache, big boost for air operations

The Indian Air Force has received the first Apache Guardian attack helicopter, that can engage both air and ground targets, at the Boeing production facility at Arizona in the United States. The AH-64E (I) Apache Guardian is an advanced all-weather attack helicopter with relative stealth using low-altitude obstacles like trees and hills as cover.

The addition of the helicopter is a significant step towards modernisation of the Indian Air Force's helicopter fleet. The IAF had signed a contract with the US government and Boeing in September 2015 for 22 Apache helicopters.

On Saturday, as the IAF accepted the helicopter, it was represented by Air Marshal AS Butola who attended a ceremony at the Boeing production facility in Mesa, Arizona. Representatives from the US government were also present at the ceremony.
The first batch of the helicopters will soon be shipped and India will receive it in July. Air and ground crew have already undergone training at the US Army facilities at Fort Rucker in Alabama. These personnel will lead and operate the Apache fleet in the IAF.

The helicopter has been customised to suit the IAF's future requirements and would have significant capability over mountainous terrain. "The helicopter has the capability to carry out precision attacks at stand-off ranges and operate in hostile airspace with threats from the ground. The ability of these helicopters to transmit and receive battlefield picture, to and from the weapon systems through data networking, makes it a lethal acquisition," the Indian Air Force said.

These attack helicopters will provide the IAF with a significant edge in any future joint operations, or support land forces.

Earlier, India had bought the Chinook transport helicopter, made by Boeing, from the US.
12/05/19 Sumit Kumar Singh/DNA

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