8 Apache Attack Helicopters Join Indian Air Force at Pathankot Air Force Station :- In a major boost to the Indian Air Force’s combat capabilities, eight US-made Apache AH-64E attack helicopters were inducted in the Indian Air Force in Pathankot Air Base on Tuesday. Indian Air Force Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, the chief guest inducted the advanced combat helicopter into IAF. The Air Force chief and Western Air Commander Air Marshal R Nambiar performed a ‘pooja’ ceremony before the induction at the Pathankot airbase. President Boeing India, Salil Gupte, handed over the ceremonial key of Apache attack helicopter to Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa.
8 Apache Attack Helicopters Join Indian Air Force at Pathankot
Mr. Gupte said, “These are the first 8 of the 22 Apache helicopters that are coming to India Air Force. These are the AH-64E variant, the same variant used by the US Army. These Apache helicopters have the latest technology.”
The IAF had signed a multi-billion dollar contract with the US government and Boeing Ltd back in September 2015 for 22 Apache helicopters. The first four of the 22 helicopters were handed over to the air force by Boeing on July 27.
IAF spokesperson Anupam Banerjee said, “It is a ceremonial induction of the aircraft into IAF. As of now, we have 8 aircraft. 22 aircraft will come in a phased manner and all will be inducted into the IAF. We had attack helicopters earlier, but this aircraft brings in lethal firepower with great accuracy.”
Before induction at the Pathankot Air Base, The Apache helicopters received water cannon salute.
The AH-64E Apache is one of the world’s most advanced multi-role combat helicopters and is flown by the US Army. Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said, “It is one of the most fierce attack helicopters in the world. It is capable of performing many missions, today with the induction of Apache AH-64E, the Indian Air Force has upgraded its inventory to the latest generation of attack helicopters.”
Before induction, the IAF had released a video on its official twitter showing Apache helicopters are unloaded from the cargo aircraft. Along with sharing a video IAF wrote, “#NewInduction: Glimpses of AH-64E Apache attack helicopter’s maiden flight at AFS Hindan. The helicopter is planned to be inducted into the IAF on 03 Sep 19 at AFS Pathankot.”
The delivery of the first batch of Apache helicopters to the IAF at the Hindan airbase had come nearly four years after a multi-billion dollar deal for the choppers was sealed.
Earlier, the Defence Ministry in 2017 approved the procurement of six Apache helicopters along with weapons systems from Boeing at a cost of Rs 4,168 crore for the Army.