1st batch of 4 Apache helicopters to arrive in India today

New Delhi, July 27 (IANS) The first batch of four Apache helicopters will arrive at the Hindon Air Force Station in Ghaziabad on the outskirts of Delhi on Saturday. The AH-64 helicopters, the most modern variant of the Apache, are being delivered by its manufacturer, the US-based Boeing, ahead of schedule.

However, the helicopters will not be handed over to the Indian Air Force (IAF) immediately after their arrival.

"The helicopters will be handed over to us after proper assembling at a later date, following which they will be inducted into the Air Force," said an IAF official.

An additional four helicopters of the same variant will arrive next week. The eight helicopters are scheduled to be taken to Pathankot Air Force Station in Punjab for their formal induction by the IAF sometime in September.

The Defence Ministry had finalised the order for production, training and support of 22 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters in 2015. Two years later, the Central government cleared the acquisition of an additional six Apaches for the Indian Army.

By 2020, Boeing would have handed over the entire fleet of 22 Apaches to the IAF for operation.

The AH-64 is the world's most advanced multi-role combat helicopter and is used by the US Army apart from a number of international defence forces. So far, Boeing has delivered more than 2,200 Apache helicopters to customers around the world. India is the 14th nation across the globe to select the Apache.

The AH-64E has the latest technology insertions, maintaining its standing as the world's best attack helicopter. It is the only available combat helicopter with a spectrum of capabilities for virtually any mission requirement.

The AH-64E Apache, selected by India, includes greater thrust and lift, joint digital operability, improved survivability and cognitive decision aiding. It is uniquely suited to meet the commander's needs, including reconnaissance, security, peacekeeping operations, and lethal attack, in land as well as littoral environments, without reconfiguration.

The AH-64E completed its first successful flights for the IAF in July 2018. The first batch of IAF crew began training to fly the Apache in the US in 2018.

--IANS

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