IAF gets its first fleet of 8 Apache attack helicopters
In a big step towards modernising the Indian Air Force fleet, US-made Apache AH-64E(I) helicopters were inducted into the Indian Air Force at the Pathankot air base on Tuesday.
“#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,” Indian Air Force said tweeting a four-minute video of the chopper.
India signed a $1.1-billion deal with US defence giant Boeing in September 2015 for 22 Apache choppers to sharpen its attack capabilities. The IAF currently flies Soviet-origin Mi-25 and Mi-35 helicopter gunships.
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The first Apache squadron will have eight helicopters that have already been supplied by Boeing, an official said. Boeing is likely to deliver all the 22 helicopters by 2020. Four of these helicopters are to be stationed at the Pathankot Air Force Station, which is just a few miles from the border with Pakistan and a prime air base.
The Apache choppers will be the second US-built helicopters to join the Air Force fleet. IAF has already inducted Boeing CH-47F (I) Chinook heavy-lift helicopters on March 25.
Both the deals were initiated during the UPA era around 2008-09 but could not be signed due to procedural and other issues in the contract, reports ANI.
On March 25, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa had presided over a ceremony in Chandigarh for the official induction of the Chinook heavy-lift choppers.
The choppers will be used for ferrying heavy loads in the mountainous region of Ladakh and other areas for the Army and Air Force requirements.
(With agency inputs)