The Indian Air Force (IAF) has received its first Apache Guardian helicopter from Boeing during a ceremony at the company’s production facility in Mesa, Arizona, US.
The aircraft is part of the 22 Apache helicopters that India agreed to buy from the firm under a contract signed in September 2015.
IAF air marshal Butola attended the ceremony in the US. The procurement of the helicopter is expected to boost the IAF’s efforts to modernise its helicopter fleet.
AH-64E (I) is the customised version of the Apache helicopter. Modifications were made to suit the IAF’s future requirements.
The helicopter is designed to offer significant capability in mountainous terrain. The service can use the chopper to conduct precision attacks at standoff ranges and operate in hostile airspace with threats from the ground.
In addition, these helicopters have the ability to ‘transmit and receive the battlefield picture, to and from the weapon systems through data networking’, the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) stated.
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In a statement, the Indian MoD said: “These attack helicopters will provide significant edge in any future joint operations in support of land forces.”
The first batch of the AH-64E (I) helicopters is anticipated to be shipped to India by July.
IAF sent aircrew and ground crew to the US to undergo training at the US Army base in Fort Rucker, Alabama.
The crew will be responsible for operating the Apache fleet in the service.
In 2017, the Indian MoD cleared a deal worth Rs41.68bn ($590.62m) to purchase six Apache helicopters and weapon systems from Boeing.
Boeing has so far delivered more than 2,200 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters to the US and other nations, including Egypt, Greece, Japan, the Netherlands, Qatar, Singapore, the UAE and the UK.