Army to base 6 Apache attack helicopters in Jodhpur | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Army to base 6 Apache attack helicopters in Jodhpur

Mar 15, 2024 06:18 PM IST

The army ordered the AH64E Apache attack helicopters from the US for more than ₹4,100 crore in 2020

NEW DELHI: The Indian Army will base its six new AH64E Apache attack helicopters at Jodhpur in Rajasthan to further strengthen its posture against Pakistan, officials aware of the development said on Friday.

The Apache can track up to 128 targets a minute and prioritise threats. (File Photo/@Boeing_In)
The Apache can track up to 128 targets a minute and prioritise threats. (File Photo/@Boeing_In)

The army ordered these helicopters from the US for more than 4,100 crore in 2020. Boeing is producing the helicopters at its Mesa facility in Arizona. The delivery of the Apaches, to be operated by the Army Aviation Corps, is expected to begin in May, the officials said, asking not to be named. The Army Aviation Corps is modernising its capabilities with attack helicopters, light combat helicopters (LCH), light utility helicopters (LUH) and unmanned aerial vehicles.

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Armed with fire-and-forget Hellfire missiles, the Apache can track up to 128 targets a minute and prioritise threats. The missiles equip the gunships with heavy anti-armour capabilities.

The Indian Air Force operates a fleet of 22 such helicopters.

India placed orders worth $ 3.1 billion for 22 Apache helicopters and 15 Chinook heavy-lift choppers for IAF in 2015. IAF has inducted all the Boeing-made helicopters, and both platforms have operated extensively in Ladakh amid the ongoing military standoff with China along the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The army plans to buy a mix of 200 utility and combat helicopters to meet its operational requirements, with the platforms set to be produced in the country. Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the country’s largest helicopter manufacturing facility at Tumakuru in Karnataka, in what is being seen as a shot in the arm for Atmanirbharta or self-reliance in the defence manufacturing sector. The new HAL factory, spread across 615 acres, will initially produce the LUH followed by LCH and later the Indian multirole helicopters. The Indian Army will start phasing out its ageing Cheetah and Chetak helicopters in three to four years, with the entire fleet set to be replaced with new utility choppers over the next 10 years.

The army currently has three aviation brigades and there are plans to raise more, as previously reported by HT.

It will also induct in the next three to four years the MQ-9B remotely piloted aircraft systems to be imported from the US. The acquisition of these drones, in a government-to-government deal, will significantly boost the Indian military’s strength as the versatile platform has the capability to strike targets with its on-board weapons, it can carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and its other roles include electronic warfare, defensive counter air and airborne early warning.

India is pursuing a deal to buy 31 such drones --- 15 for the navy, and eight each for the army and IAF.

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