The Indian Air Force (IAF) has received the first four AH-64E (I) Apache Guardian helicopters at the Hindan airbase in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

In September 2015, the Indian Ministry of Defence entered a contract with US firm Boeing to procure 22 Apache helicopters for the IAF.

The first batch of the Apache attack helicopters was handed over on 27 July, while an additional four choppers are scheduled to be delivered next week, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.

Boeing was quoted by the news agency as saying: “The eight choppers will then move to the Pathankot Air Force station for their formal induction by the IAF in September.

“The arrival of the Apaches, ahead of schedule, validates Boeing’s commitment to delivering on its promise of modernising India’s defence forces. Boeing has ensured high rate of mission readiness and increased operational capabilities through its current partnerships with the IAF.”

The US manufacturer completed the maiden flights of the AH-64E Apache designed for the IAF last year.

Selected aircrew and ground crew from the IAF already underwent training at the US Army base in Fort Rucker, Alabama, US.

The IAF accepted its first Apache helicopter under the contract in May during a ceremony at Boeing’s production facility in Mesa, Arizona, US.

Boeing added: “By 2020, the IAF will operate a fleet of 22 Apaches, and these first deliveries are ahead of schedule.”

The procurement of the aircraft is expected to boost the service’s efforts to modernise its helicopter fleet.

The Apaches have been customised to deliver significant capability in mountainous terrain.

Key features include the ability to conduct precision attacks at standoff ranges and to send and receive the battlefield picture, to and from the weapon systems.

The Indian Government also cleared the purchase of six Apache AH-64E helicopters for its army last year.

In addition to the helicopters, Boeing will supply associated equipment and weapons systems.