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Posted at: May 11, 2019, 9:48 AM; last updated: May 11, 2019, 11:55 AM (IST)

First US-made attack helicopter handed over to Indian Air Force

First US-made attack helicopter handed over to Indian Air Force
Air Marshal AS Butola represented the IAF at the Boeing production facility.

Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 11

The first Apache AH 64E attack helicopter was formally handed over to the Indian Air Force at the Boeing production facility in Mesa, Arizona, US, on Friday. 

This is the first attack copter acquired from the US. The IAF currently uses the Soviet/Russian origin Mi25/Mi35 copters. These are tasked with tank formations.

Air Marshal AS Butola represented the IAF and accepted the first Apache in a ceremony at the Boeing production facility; representatives from the US government were also present, the IAF said on Saturday morning. 

The IAF had signed a contract with the US Government and Boeing in September 2015 for 22 Apache helicopters. The first batch of these helicopters is scheduled to be shipped to India by July.

Selected aircrew and ground crew have undergone training at the training facilities at the US Army base Fort Rucker, Alabama. These personnel will lead the operationalisation of the Apache fleet in the IAF.

The addition of AH-64 E helicopter is a significant step towards modernisation of the IAF’s helicopter fleet. The helicopter has been customised to suit the IAF’s requirements and would have significant capability in mountainous terrain.

The helicopter has the capability to carry out precision attacks at standoff ranges and operate in hostile airspace with threats from the ground. The ability of these helicopters to transmit and receive the battlefield picture to and from the weapon systems through data networking makes it a lethal acquisition. These attack helicopters will provide significant edge in any joint operations in support of land forces. 

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