AH-64D Apache

The Indian Air Force (IAF) will soon sign a $1.4bn contract with Boeing for the supply of 22 AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters, a defence ministry official has revealed.

The official was quoted by Times of India as saying: "It’s just a matter of time before the contract is inked for the Apaches after final commercial negotiations. Most of the hurdles have been cleared.”

Boeing’s AH-64D Apache beat the Russian Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant’s Mi-28 Havoc attack helicopter for the contract by meeting all air staff qualitative requirements (ASQRs) during the air force’s extensive field trials.

The deal also includes supply of a total of 812 AGM-114L-3 Hellfire Longbow missiles, 542 AGM-114R-3 Hellfire-II missiles, 245 Stinger Block I-92H missiles, as well as 12 AN/APG-78 fire-control radars, according to a notification to the US Congress in 2010.

The purchase forms part of the Indian Armed Forces’ planned acquisition of around 900 helicopters from foreign companies, at an estimated cost of more than INR200bn ($3.7bn) over the next decade.

The intended $3.7bn package may also include 15 heavy-lift helicopters for IAF, 384 light-utility and observation, 90 naval multi-role, 65 light combat and 139 medium-lift helicopters.

Boeing is also participating in the IAF’s heavy-lift rotorcraft contract and has proposed its combat proven CH-47 Chinook, while Russia has offered its Mil Mi-26 transport helicopter.

Powered by two T700-GE-701C engines, the upgraded AH-64D Apache features an advanced sensor suite, a glass cockpit, AN/APG-78 Longbow millimetre-wave fire control radar (FCR) target acquisition systems and a radar frequency interferometer (RFI).

The helicopter is armed with a 30mm chain gun, AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and Hydra 70 rocket pods.

Image: A US Army’s AH-64D Apache helicopter conducting a reconnaissance mission in Baghdad, Iraq. Photo: courtesy of EH101.