Eight Apache Attack Helicopters Inducted In IAF
By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 03, Sep 2019, 16:52 pm IST | UPDATED: 03, Sep 2019, 16:52 pm IST
Delhi: Eight Apache attack helicopters were inducted in the Indian Air Force on Tuesday at the Pathankot Air Base in Punjab, in the presence of Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa.The Apache choppers received water cannon salute, before induction at the Pathankot Air Base. India is the sixteenth nation in the world to be operating the Apache attack helicopters.
President Boeing India, Salil Gupte, handed over the ceremonial key of Apache attack helicopter to Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa.
Speaking at the occasion , Dhanoa said: "It is one of the most fierce attack helicopters in the world. It is capable of performing many missions, today with the induction of Apache AH-64E, the Indian Air Force has upgraded its inventory to the latest generation of attack helicopters."
All eight choppers are of the AH-64 variant, which are the most modern variant of the Apache. Boeing has delivered the eight helicopters ahead of schedule.
The AH-64E Apache is one of the world's most advanced multi-role combat helicopters, and is flown by the US Army.
The IAF had signed a multi-billion dollar contract with the US government and Boeing Ltd in September 2015 for 22 Apache helicopters.
Additionally, the Defence Ministry in 2017 approved the procurement of six Apache helicopters along with weapons systems from Boeing at a cost of Rs 4,168 crore for the Army. This will be its first fleet of attack choppers.
By 2020, the IAF will operate a fleet of 22 Apaches, and these first deliveries are ahead of schedule.
The delivery of the first batch of Apache helicopters to the IAF at the Hindan air base came nearly four years after a multi-billion dollar deal for the choppers was sealed.
Quoting a senior IAF official, news agency IANS reported that Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa will induct the choppers in a ceremony at the Pathankot air base. Other senior officials of the Air Force will also be present during the function.
It had earlier been speculated that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will be the guest of honour at the induction ceremony. However, Defence Ministry officials on Monday said that he will not be present as he is currently on an official tour of Japan and South Korea, aimed at strengthening bilateral defence co-operation.