India received the last batch AH-64 Apache helicopters, may start its own production

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NEW DELHI, (BM) – The Indian Air Force command received the last batch of five AH-64E (I) Apache Guardian attack helicopters, which were ordered by Boeing in 2015, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.

Read more: India bought single-engine Tejas fighter jets totalling $5,5B

According to Jane’s source, the helicopters were handed over to the Indian Air Force on July 5 at the Hindan Air Force Base (Uttar Pradesh, India) after delivering on board the An-124 at the end of June.

Last year, the Indian Air Force took 17 of the 22 ordered AH-64E (I) Apache helicopters. The remaining five were planned to be delivered to India by the end of March 2020, but the supply of helicopters was delayed due to restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Indian media reports, the delivery of the last batch of helicopters was accelerated by the Indian government amid worsening relations with China after clashes between Indian and Chinese units on June 15 in the area of ​​the “Line of actual control.”

To quickly put the AH-64E (I) Apache into operation, the Indian government exempted all Boeing technical specialists from compulsory quarantine for foreigners due to COVID-19. This allowed us to quickly re-assemble the helicopters, the joint procedure for receiving and transmitting the Air Force for possible deployment in the area of ​​the “Actual Control Lines”.

New helicopters will replenish the fleet previously sent to the area from the Pathankot air base (Punjab) AH-64E (I) Apache.

Read more: India buys integrated air defense weapon system (IADWS) from the US

It should be noted that after the aggravation of the situation in the border areas with China, the Indian government accelerated the implementation of arms procurement projects from both national and foreign manufacturers.

As TsAMTO reported, contracts worth $ 3.1 billion for the supply of 22 AH-64E (I) Apache Guardian helicopters and 15 CH-47F Chinook helicopters were signed by the Indian Ministry of Defense in September 2015.

The contract for the purchase of AH-64E Apache worth 139.5 billion rupees (2.02 billion dollars) included an option for the supply of 11 additional cars. The Apache acquisition project is a combination of direct commercial contracts and procurement under the Foreign Military Sales program.

The official ceremony of transferring the first AH-64E (I) helicopter to the Indian Air Force took place at the Boeing Corporation in Mesa (Arizona) on May 10, 2019. The first four AH-64E (I) Apache Guardian were delivered to the Hindon base on July 27, 2019. By the end of the year 17 helicopters were delivered.

AH-64E (I) Apache Guardian will be based at Pathankot (Punjab) and Jorhat (Assam) air bases. Each squadron will include 10 helicopters, two more will remain in reserve in case of loss.

In February 2020, during a visit to India by US President Donald Trump, the United States and India entered into a new agreement for the supply of military helicopters with a total value of more than $ 3 billion.

They envisage the sale of 24 Indian MH-60R helicopters with a total value of $ 2.6 billion. . and six AH-64E (I) Apache Guardian to the aviation corps of the Ground Forces in the amount of about 800 million dollars.

Read more: India is ready to spend $2,6B for new naval helicopters by US’ Lockheed Martin

As planned, the AH-64E (I) Apache Guardian will initially expand the capabilities of the Mi-25 and Mi-35 fleet, the number of which will exceed 20 units, and in the future will replace them.

India has plans to produce attack helicopter comparable with U.S. Apache

In an ambitious project with strategic significance, aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics has started ground work to produce a 10 to 12 tonne attack helicopter by 2027 which will be comparable with some of the best medium-lift military choppers globally like the Apache of the Boeing as we reported on March 2 this year.

Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd R Madhavan said the aim of the mega project is to stop import of more than Rs 4 lakh crore worth of military helicopters for the three services in the coming years.

In an interview, Madhavan said the HAL has completed the preliminary design of the helicopter and that initial plan is to produce at least 500 units with the first prototype set to be ready by 2023 if the government gives the go ahead to the project this year.

“One major project we are focusing on is to produce a helicopter in 10 to 12 tonnes category to replace the Mi-17 fleet. It will be an indigenous platform with the potential to manufacture around 500 helicopters. It will stop import of more than Rs 4 lakh crore worth of platforms from foreign countries,” he said.

Read more: India bought 21 MiG-29 fighters and began upgrading 59 available of them

Madhavan said an amount of Rs 9,600 crore will be required for design as well as to produce the prototype of the helicopter.

“If we get the approval in 2020, we will be able to manufacture the first chopper by 2027. We are looking at producing at least 500 helicopters of the variant. It will be a major project we are working on,” he said.

A military expert described the project as the biggest by the HAL after development of the Tejas military aircraft.

“We have done the preliminary design. We have also been in discussion with the Air Force and the Navy. The 10-12 tonnes category will have two basic structures on similar platforms. The naval version will have different dimension compared to the one for the Army and the Air Force,” Madhavan said on the proposed mega project.

Like the LCH (Light Combat Helicopter) we developed from the Dhruv platform, a similar variant of 10-12 tonnes category can be produced to make it an Apache equivalent,” said Madhavan.

The helicopter will be powered by twin engines and will feature blade folding option for ship deck operations. The planned roles for the helicopter will be to support air assault, air transport, combat logistics and combat search and rescue. The chopper will also have a very superior weapons package.

Read more: Dogfight! F-16 Fighting Falcon vs. MiG-29/35 Fulcrum – who is better?

Madhavan said the helicopter will have a huge potential for export.

The Mi-17 helicopters make up the backbone of the IAF’s helicopter fleet and they are planned to be phased out by 2032.

The HAL’s product range includes a number of helicopter like the LCH (Light Combat Helicopter) and multi-role ALH (Advanced Light Helicopter) and Chetak choppers.

India is one of the largest importers of arms and military platforms globally. The government has been focusing significantly on promoting defence indigenisation by taking a slew of reform initiatives including liberalising FDI in defence sector.

India bought 21 MiG-29 fighters and began upgrading 59 available of them

The Indian Ministry of Defense has approved the purchase of 21 MiG-29 fighters from the Russian Federation to strengthen the country’s air force’s combat readiness, BulgarianMilitary.com reported on July 2.

According to the agency, the Indian Air Force will also purchase an additional 12 Su-30MKI aircraft, which are produced by the Indian aircraft manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd under a Russian license.

In addition, the Ministry of Defense approved the proposal to modernize 59 MiG-29 fighters already in service with the country, PTI points out. The agency emphasizes that the decision to purchase and modernize the aircraft was taken against the backdrop of a worsening relationship between India and China.

Read more: India has deployed a quick-reaction air defense system to the Ladakh

According to the Indian government news agency PIB, the cost of purchasing from Russia 21 MiG-29 fighters and upgrading 59 aircraft of this type will be about $ 980 million, and the acquisition of 12 Su-30MKI will be about $ 1.35 billion.

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Air systemsBoeing AH-64 ApachesIndian Defence News