NEW DELHI: Boeing on Tuesday formally handed over eight of 22 AH-64E Apache helicopters to the Indian Air Force at the Air Force Station, Pathankhot. Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa, Chief of Air Staff, officers from the IAF and officials from Boeing attended the induction ceremony.
The Apaches arrived at the Air Force Station, Hindon, in July this year, in batches of four, over two days, and were then transported to the Air Force Station, Pathankhot in Punjab to await their formal induction.
Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa, Chief of Air Staff, 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 helicopters in a network centric aerial warfare. Apaches have been an integral part of numerous historic campaigns worldwide. These aircraft have been modified specifically to suit the exacting standards demanded by IAF. I am happy to note that the delivery schedule is on time with eight helicopters already being delivered.”
India, the 16th nation to select the Apache, is receiving the most advanced variant, the AH-64E Apache that is also flown by the US Army. By 2020, the IAF will operate a fleet of 22 Apaches. The order for production, training and support of these helicopters was finalised by the Ministry of Defence in 2015. The MoD is also in the process of evaluating the acquisition of additional six Apaches for the Indian Army.
Salil Gupte, President, Boeing India, said: “Boeing is committed to supporting the modernisation requirements of the Indian armed forces and maintaining them to be mission-ready. We are confident that the Apaches will be an indispensable asset to the IAF. We will continue our efforts to deliver advanced capabilities to India’s defence forces.”