Published: Fri, August 18, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Indian Army to get its own attack helicopters

Indian Army to get its own attack helicopters

Indian Defense Ministry agreed on Thursday to buy six attack helicopters from the USA company Boeing, while India is strengthening its military strength amid border tensions with China and Pakistan, Indian officials said.

The first batch received by India from the 22 attack helicopters and carrying the Hellfire and Stinger missiles has replaced the old Indian Air Force fleet. It will enable the Army to have its own attack helicopters flown by pilots of the Army Aviation Corps. The IAF also maintained that two Services flying helicopters will duplicate the effort of maintenance.

The AH-64E Apache helicopters will come with associated equipment including spares, training and ammunition. The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), which approves big-ticket purchases, gave the green light to acquire six additional Apache helicopters after 22 were bought as part of a $2.5 billion deal in 2015.

The newspaper pointed out that six Apache helicopters would be purchased as a follow-on option to the Indian Air Force (IAF) contract, signed in 2015. These helicopters will provide cover to the Army's tanks and destroy the enemy's armed vehicles and fortified positions.

The army has a requirement for more attack helicopters as it had moved a case to buy 39 Apaches two years ago.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Arun Jaitely also cleared another proposal for buying gas turbines from Ukraine for two Admiral Grigorovich class ships being made in Russian Federation for India.

Manufactured by Boeing, Apache 64-D helicopters are rated to be the most advanced multi-role heavy attack helicopters. The deal was inked at 3.1 billion dollars.

Sources added that the defence minister also took stock of other procurement proposals, and said there should be close monitoring and expeditious clearance of pending capital acquisitions, especially for those which are in advanced stages.

The proposal was also discussed in a DAC meeting held in May.

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