Amid rising security threats in South East region, Indian Army got a massive relief today. In a major decision, the Defence ministry today approved procurement of six Apache attack helicopters along with weapons systems from American giant Boeing at a cost of Rs 4,168 crore for the Army which will be its first fleet of attack choppers.
Apache is among one of world’s most advanced helicopter, AH-64 Apache is also used by the US Army among armed forces of other countries. Also known as Apache Guardian, this is a multi-role combat helicopter that can function smoothly in any weather and any point of time including night. The chopper is primarily designed to help the ground troops and is said to be ‘lethal’ when it comes to destroying enemy tankers. Apache is also famous for their unmatched ability of fighting in Night or extremely dark conditions.
This will be a follow on order to the deal India had signed with Boeing and the US government for 22 Apache helicopters and 15 Chinook heavy-lift choppers in September 2015. The six ‘AH-64-E’ helicopters will come along with associated equipment, spares and weapons systems.
Defence Minister Jaitley chaired a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council and cleared the long-pending proposal to procure the attack helicopters for the Army which has been pressing for the choppers.
After the government finalized the deal for 22 Apache helicopters for the Indian Air Force, the Army had been pushing for follow on orders of 11 choppers for it, arguing that the ground forces need them considering the changing security scenario in the region.
However, the Indian Air Force was not in favor of the Army’s proposal. Till now, the Army does not have any attack helicopter.The Rs 4,168 crore deal will also include cost of weapons, ammunition, spares and associate equipment and training.
The Defence Acquisition Council, the defence ministry’s highest decision-making body on procurement, has also cleared a proposal to procure two gas turbine engines from Ukraine at a cost of Rs 490 crore for two ships which are being built for the Indian Navy by Russia, the sources said.
They said the proposal to procure the attack helicopters will have to be cleared by the cabinet committee on security before the deal could be inked.
Apache attack helicopters, will be delivered by 2020, will significantly enhance armored division and will strengthen the Army’s capability to carry out combat operations in border areas. The total cost for the 22 Apache helicopters and 15 Chinook choppers was around USD 3 billion.
This is certainly a big boost for Indian Armed Forces, an attack helicopter like Apache will be acting as a force multiplier for Indian forces and it will enhance the battle capabilities of our forces few notches higher for sure.