India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has reportedly cleared the $2.5bn deal to buy 22 Apache attack helicopters and 15 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters from Boeing.
The deal to purchase the US-built military capabilities, which was pending since 2013 over cost negotiations, was announced alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US.
The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) cleared this deal in May this year in conjunction with the visit of US defence secretary Ashton Carter to New Delhi. The deal was expected to be signed during Carter’s visit.
The contract will also likely include an option for follow-on orders for 11 more Apaches and four extra Chinooks.
India will receive these new capabilities under a Direct Commercial Sale (DCS) contract and the US’ Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme.
The country will sign the DCS contract with Boeing for the Apache helicopter, while the FMS agreement with the US will see the delivery of munitions, training, platform certification, and components including engines, sensors, and radar.
The delivery of Chinook will be also carried out under DCS deal.
India has selected Boeing’s products over Russia’s Mi-28N Night Hunter and Mi-26 heavy-lift copters.
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).
Moreover, the helicopter is armed with a 30mm chain gun, AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and Hydra 70 rocket pods.
The Chinook helicopters are suitable for trooping, resupply, and battlefield casualty evacuation, as well as for carrying internal and underslung loads.
The 22 Apache helicopters are expected to replace Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Mi-35 attack helicopters, while Chinooks would replace the IAF’s ageing Mi-26 fleet.
Image: Boeing’s AH-64D Apache Block III attack helicopter. Photo: courtesy of Boeing photo.