IAF to induct first batch of Apache copters on Sept 3

New Delhi, Aug 22 (IANS) The first batch of Apache helicopters, which have already arrived in India, will be formally inducted into the Indian Air Force in Pathankot, Punjab on September 3.

A senior Defence Ministry official told IANS on Thursday that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is likely to preside over the induction ceremony as the chief guest.

"Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa has already given his consent for the induction ceremony. The helicopters will be handed over by the manufacturer to the air force. The induction ceremony will be held at the Pathankot Air Force Station," said the official.

The first four Apache helicopters had arrived from the US at the Hindon Air Force Station in Ghaziabad on the outskirts of Delhi on July 27. Officials said four more helicopters had arrived subsequently.

The AH-64 helicopters, the most modern variant of the Apache, have been delivered by its manufacturer, the US-based Boeing, ahead of schedule.

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 will hand over the entire fleet of 22 Apaches to the IAF.

--IANS

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