Independence Day

     

IAF to get its first Apache attack helicopters at Hindan on July 27

Iconic gunships to be based at Pathankot, Jorhat

July 22, 2019 By Vishal Thapar Photo(s): By Boeing
The first Apache AH-64 being handed over by Boeing to the IAF at Mesa, Arizona in May this year

The first four of the 22 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters being acquired for the Indian Air Force (IAF) will arrive at the Hindan airbase near Delhi on July 27.

The arrival of the world's most lethal helicopter gunship shall coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Kargil War of 1999, when India sorely missed an attack helicopter capable of operating at high-altitudes while evicting Pakistani intruders from mountain tops. A Mi-17 doubling up as a weaponised helicopter was shot down with a Pakistani Stinger in the early stages of the War.

India signed a $1.4 Billion contract with the US in 2015 for 22 Apache helicopters with an options clause for 6 more. The first AH-64 was handed over to the IAF at Mesa in Arizona, US, in May this year.

India signed a $1.4 Billion contract with the US in 2015 for 22 Apache helicopters with an options clause for 6 more. The first AH-64 was handed over to the IAF at Mesa in Arizona, US, in May this year

Within a few days of the delivery of the first lot of 4 Apaches on July 27, some more will reach Hindan. After the initial induction procedures, these gunships will be based at Pathankot. The IAF will move half of the fleet to Jorhat in Assam after all 22 are received next year.

Industry sources indicated that the airframes for the later deliveries from among the 22 ordered shall be provided by the Boeing-Tata joint venture at Hyderabad, which is set to become the sole global supplier for Apache airframes soon.