The Indian government is set to exercise an option to buy additional AH-64E heavy attack helicopters from the United States.
The deal for six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters for the Indian Army, estimated to cost around $930 million, is likely to be signed early next year, Army sources said on Friday.
“It is in advanced stage and the file is now with the Cabinet Committee on Security [CCS]. We expect the deal to be signed early next year,” an Army source said. The helicopters should start coming in by 2022, the source added. The Army will also soon start receiving the indigenously built Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) along with the IAF.
India, the 16th nation to select the Apache, is receiving the most advanced variant, the AH-64E Apache that is also flown by the U. S. Army. By 2020, the IAF will operate a fleet of 22 Apaches. The order for production, training and support of these helicopters was finalized by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in 2015.
The AH-64E Apache for the Indian Air Force completed successful first flights in July 2018. The first batch of Indian Air Force crew began their training to fly the Apache in the U.S. in 2018.
The AH-64E Apache is an advanced multi-mission helicopter with the latest technology insertions, maintaining its standing as the world’s best attack helicopter. The Apaches also have a fully integrated, digital cockpit that enhances the aircraft’s mission performance. It is uniquely suited to meet a commander’s needs, including reconnaissance, security, peacekeeping operations, and lethal attack, across myriad environments—without reconfiguration.
AH-64E 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 ammunitions, it also has modern EW capabilities to provide versatility to helicopters in a network centric aerial warfare.