The Apache AH-64E is considered to be the best attack helicopter in the world
The Indian Air Force (IAF) inducted its first batch Apache AH-64E attack helicopters on September 3. As many as eight Apache AH-64E choppers were inducted.
The induction ceremony happened at the Pathankot Air Force Station in Punjab. Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa was the chief guest.
Apache AH-64E is one of the most advanced multi-role combat helicopters in the world and is primarily flown by the US Army. It is also used by the Israeli, Egyptian and the Dutch air forces, among others. United Kingdom uses the AgustaWestland variant of the Apache.
The US Army has used the previous variants in the Gulf War, and during its operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
IAF had signed a multi-billion dollar contract with the US government and Boeing in September 2015 for 22 Apache helicopters.
The first four of the 22 helicopters were handed over to IAF by Boeing on July 27. These deliveries were reportedly ahead of schedule.Initially, the helicopters will be based at Hindon airport near New Delhi, before being stationed at Pathankot and Jorhat air bases, reports suggest.
— ANI (@ANI) September 3, 2019
The AH-64E is the enhanced version of the Apache’s previous variant -- AH-64D.
Hence, the AH-64E has improved digital connectivity and the capability to control unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), among others.
It has a better cruise speed and climb rate that its predecessors and an improved payload capacity.
Each helicopter has the capacity to carry 16 Hellfire laser or radar-guided missiles, 76 rockets and 1,200 rounds of the M230 30 mm Chain Gun.
Pilots will also have Modernised Target Acquisition & Designation System (MTADS) and Modernized Pilot Night Vision Sensor (PNVS). PNVS gives pilots helmet-mounted infrared view. The helicopter is operated by two pilots.
#NewInduction: Glimpses of AH-64E Apache attack helicopter's maiden flight at AFS Hindan.
The helicopter is planned to be inducted into the IAF on 03 Sep 19 at AFS Pathankot. pic.twitter.com/UYiSrEfOsg— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) September 2, 2019
Boost to IAF's capabilities
The AH-64E Apache for the IAF completed successful first flights in July 2018. The first batch of IAF crew began training on the new helicopters in the US in 2018.
IAF will operate a fleet of 22 Apaches by 2020.
A senior IAF official told news agency PTI that induction of the Apache attack choppers “will enhance the force's combat capabilities" as it has been customised to suit the air force’s future requirements.
At the induction ceremony, IAF PRO Anupam Banerjee told news agency ANI, “We had attack helicopters earlier, but this aircraft brings in lethal firepower with great accuracy.”
Boeing has claimed that the AH-64E has the latest technology insertions, maintaining its standing as the world's best attack helicopter.
"It is the only available combat helicopter with a spectrum of capabilities for virtually any mission requirement. For the AH-64 E, this includes greater thrust and lift, joint digital operability, improved survivability and cognitive decision aiding,” the company said.
"It is uniquely suited to meet the commander's needs, including reconnaissance, security, peacekeeping operations, and lethal attack -- in both land and littoral environments -- all without reconfiguration," it added.
Additionally, the Defence Ministry had in 2017 approved procurement of six Apache helicopters along with weapons systems from Boeing at a cost of Rs 4,168 crore for the Indian Army.(With inputs from PTI)Get access to India's fastest growing financial subscriptions service Moneycontrol Pro for as little as Rs 599 for first year. Use the code "GETPRO". Moneycontrol Pro offers you all the information you need for wealth creation including actionable investment ideas, independent research and insights & analysis For more information, check out the Moneycontrol website or mobile app.