New Delhi: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is set to officially induct the first batch of Apache attack helicopters into the Indian Air Force on September 3 in Pathankot. The Defence Minister is scheduled to induct the Apache attack choppers into the Air Force officially in Pathankot on September 3. The first batch of choppers had arrived at the Hindan air base about three weeks ago at the Hindan airbase in an Antonov cargo plane, defence officials said on Thursday.
The Apache-64E helicopters, the latest variants of the said model which were delivered by the US, will bolster the combat capability of the Indian Air Force.
After the first four helicopters, India received another batch. And now, the Defence Minister is expected to induct the eight helicopters in the IAF fleet in the first go. The Defence Ministry had finalised the order for the production, training and support of 22 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters in 2015.
The ministry then cleared the acquisition of an additional six Apache helicopters for the Indian Army two years later. India is expected to get the entire fleet of 22 Apache helicopters for the IAF by 2020.
In 2018, India had signed a deal for the supply of 15 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters and 22 attack helicopters, valued at US$3 billion, with American firms. Even though both the deals were initiated during the UPA era around 2008-09, they could not be signed due to procedural issues in the contract.
On March 25, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa had presided over a ceremony in Chandigarh where Chinook heavy-lift helicopters were officially inducted. The helicopters are meant for carrying heavy loads in the mountainous region of Ladakh and other areas for the Army and Air Force requirements.