The Indian Air Force command received the last batch of five AH-64E (I) Apache Guardian attack helicopters, which were ordered by Boeing in 2015 .In total, 22 helicopter were ordered by India.
The Indian Air Force received the last batch of U.S. AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters . The British publication Janes writes that the remaining five attack helicopters were delivered to the Hindon airbase with the An-124 transport aircraft .
In total, 22 cars were ordered by India . New Delhi received 17 helicopters last year, and the delivery of the last five Apache was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic . The media write that in connection with the aggravation in the Sino-Indian line of actual control in Ladakh, the Indian authorities decided to accelerate the supply of helicopters. In addition, they freed Boeing specialists from quarantining mandatory for foreigners.
It became known that out of 20 helicopters two squadrons of 10 units each will be formed , and two vehicles will remain in reserve. Squadrons will be based at Pathankot and Jorhat . An agreement to supply India with 22 Apache Guardian was signed in autumn 2015 .
As TsAMTO reported, contracts worth $ 3.1 billion for the supply of 22 AH-64E (I) Apache Guardian helicopters and 15 CH-47F Chinook helicopters were signed by the Indian Ministry of Defense in September 2015.
The contract for the purchase of AH-64E Apache worth 139.5 billion rupees (2.02 billion dollars) included an option for the supply of 11 additional cars. The Apache acquisition project is a combination of direct commercial contracts and procurement under the Foreign Military Sales program.
The official ceremony of transferring the first AH-64E (I) helicopter to the Indian Air Force took place at the Boeing Corporation in Mesa (Arizona) on May 10, 2019. The first four AH-64E (I) Apache Guardian were delivered to the Hindon base on July 27, 2019. By the end of the year 17 helicopters were delivered.
AH-64E (I) Apache Guardian will be based at Pathankot (Punjab) and Jorhat (Assam) air bases. Each squadron will include 10 helicopters, two more will remain in reserve in case of loss.
In February 2020, during a visit to India by US President Donald Trump, the United States and India entered into a new agreement for the supply of military helicopters with a total value of more than $ 3 billion.
They envisage the sale of 24 Indian MH-60R helicopters with a total value of $ 2.6 billion. . and six AH-64E (I) Apache Guardian to the aviation corps of the Ground Forces in the amount of about 800 million dollars.
India has plans to produce attack helicopter comparable with U.S. Apache
In an ambitious project with strategic significance, aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics has started ground work to produce a 10 to 12 tonne attack helicopter by 2027 which will be comparable with some of the best medium-lift military choppers globally like the Apache of the Boeing as we reported on March 2 this year.
Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd R Madhavan said the aim of the mega project is to stop import of more than Rs 4 lakh crore worth of military helicopters for the three services in the coming years.
In an interview, Madhavan said the HAL has completed the preliminary design of the helicopter and that initial plan is to produce at least 500 units with the first prototype set to be ready by 2023 if the government gives the go ahead to the project this year.
“One major project we are focusing on is to produce a helicopter in 10 to 12 tonnes category to replace the Mi-17 fleet. It will be an indigenous platform with the potential to manufacture around 500 helicopters. It will stop import of more than Rs 4 lakh crore worth of platforms from foreign countries,” he said.
Madhavan said an amount of Rs 9,600 crore will be required for design as well as to produce the prototype of the helicopter.
“If we get the approval in 2020, we will be able to manufacture the first chopper by 2027. We are looking at producing at least 500 helicopters of the variant. It will be a major project we are working on,” he said.
A military expert described the project as the biggest by the HAL after development of the Tejas military aircraft.
“We have done the preliminary design. We have also been in discussion with the Air Force and the Navy. The 10-12 tonnes category will have two basic structures on similar platforms. The naval version will have different dimension compared to the one for the Army and the Air Force,” Madhavan said on the proposed mega project.
Like the LCH (Light Combat Helicopter) we developed from the Dhruv platform, a similar variant of 10-12 tonnes category can be produced to make it an Apache equivalent,” said Madhavan.
The helicopter will be powered by twin engines and will feature blade folding option for ship deck operations. The planned roles for the helicopter will be to support air assault, air transport, combat logistics and combat search and rescue. The chopper will also have a very superior weapons package.
Madhavan said the helicopter will have a huge potential for export.
The Mi-17 helicopters make up the backbone of the IAF’s helicopter fleet and they are planned to be phased out by 2032.
The HAL’s product range includes a number of helicopter like the LCH (Light Combat Helicopter) and multi-role ALH (Advanced Light Helicopter) and Chetak choppers.
India is one of the largest importers of arms and military platforms globally. The government has been focusing significantly on promoting defence indigenisation by taking a slew of reform initiatives including liberalising FDI in defence sector.