Tuesday, May 28, 2024 | Last Update : 08:08 PM IST

  India   All India  04 Sep 2019  Apaches add to IAF firepower

Apaches add to IAF firepower

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Sep 4, 2019, 12:37 am IST
Updated : Sep 4, 2019, 12:37 am IST

The Apaches will enhance the IAF’s capability in providing integrated combat aviation cover to the Army strike corps.

Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa speaks during the induction ceremony of eight US-made Apache AH-64E attack helicopters into the Indian Air Force at the Pathankot Air Force Station on Tuesday. (Photo: PTI)
 Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa speaks during the induction ceremony of eight US-made Apache AH-64E attack helicopters into the Indian Air Force at the Pathankot Air Force Station on Tuesday. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: The Indian Air Force on Tuesday inducted the first batch of eight Apache attack helicopters at its Pathankot airbase, giving the country the capability to carry out surgical strikes through the air along the Line of Control.

The Apaches will enhance the IAF’s capability in providing integrated combat aviation cover to the Army strike corps. These helicopters are all-weather, day and night capable and have high agility and survivability against battle damage.

The Apache helicopters will boost India’s firepower as they are loaded with air-to-ground Hellfire missiles, 70 mm Hydra rockets and air-to-air Stinger missiles. The Apache also carries one 30 mm chain gun with 1,200 rounds as part of area weapon sub-system. To add to the lethality of the helicopter, it carries fire control radar, which has a 360 degree coverage and nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems. The Apache attack helicopters are being purchased to replace the Mi-35 fleet.

“Alongside the capability to shoot fire and forget anti-tank guided missiles, air-to-air missiles, rockets and other ammunition, it also has modern Electronic Warfare (EW) capabilities to provide versatility to the  helicopter in a network-centric aerial warfare,” said

IAF chief Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa at the induction ceremony. He said Apaches have been an integral part of numerous historic campaigns worldwide. “These aircraft have been modified specifically to suit the exacting standards demanded kby the IAF. I am happy to note that the delivery is on time with eight helicopters already being delivered,” the IAF Chief said.

The IAF has signed a contract with Boeing and the US government for 22 Apache attack helicopters. The first eight helicopters have been delivered on schedule and the last batch of helicopters is to be delivered by March 2020. These helicopters will be deployed in the western regions of India.

These are easily maintainable even in field conditions and are capable of prolonged operations in tropical and desert regions. India is the 16th nation to select the Apache, and is getting the most advanced variant, the AH-64E Apache, which is also flown by the US Army, Boeing added.

The IAF signed a contract with the US government and Boeing in September 2015 for 22 Apache helicopters. The defence ministry in 2017 had also approved the procurement of six Apache helicopters along with weapons systems from Boeing at a cost of Rs 4,168 crores for the Indian Army.

Tags: indian air force, apache attack helicopters