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Six Apaches for Rs 4,168 crore: Army to get its own attack helicopters

The Boeing-manufactured helicopters and associated equipment cleared by the council are expected to cost around Rs 4,168 crore, defence ministry sources said.

india Updated: Aug 18, 2017 01:16 IST
Rahul Singh
Rahul Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Apaches,Indian Army,Helicopters
India placed orders worth $3.1 billion for 22 Boeing AH-64E Apache helicopters and 15 Chinook heavy-lift choppers in 2015.(File Photo/For Representation)

The country’s defence acquisition council (DAC) on Thursday gave the green light to a proposal to buy six Apache AH64E attack helicopters for the army from the United States.

The Boeing-manufactured helicopters and associated equipment cleared by the council are expected to cost around Rs 4,168 crore, defence ministry sources said.

Attack helicopters have been on the army’s wish list for several years, but the air force has objected to the plan.

India placed orders worth $3.1 billion for 22 Boeing AH-64E Apache helicopters and 15 Chinook heavy-lift choppers in 2015.

The six helicopters cleared by the DAC, headed by defence minister Arun Jaitley, will be bought from the US as a follow-on option to the IAF contract, the sources said.

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 army has a requirement for more attack helicopters as it had moved a case to buy 39 Apaches two years ago.

“It’s best if army pilots operate attack helicopters as it requires extremely close cooperation with the ground forces,” said retired brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal, a strategic affairs expert.

Boeing has delivered more than 2,200 Apaches to international customers.

In March, the company signed a $3.4 billion contract with the US government for 268 Apaches.

The DAC also cleared gas turbines worth Rs 490 crore to power India’s latest frigates built in Russia.

First Published: Aug 17, 2017 18:38 IST