IAF gets its first Apache Guardian attack helicopter in US: The first Apache Guardian attack helicopter was formally handed over to the Indian Air Force at a production facility of Boeing in Arizona on Friday, the Indian Air Force tweeted this morning. India signed a contract for 22 of the Apache Guardian choppers with the US in September 2015.
The AH-64E (I) Apache Guardian is an advanced all-weather attack helicopter that can engage both air and ground targets with relative stealth using low-altitude obstacles like trees and hills as cover.
Air Marshal AS Butola, who represented the Indian Air Force, accepted the first Apache in a ceremony at Boeing production facility where US government representatives were also present.
The first batch of these helicopters is scheduled to be shipped to India by July.
Aircrew and ground crew have already undergone training at the training facilities at US Army base Fort Rucker, Alabama. These trained personnel will lead operationalisation of the Apache fleet in the IAF.
The addition of AH-64 E (I) helicopter is a significant step towards modernisation of Indian Air Force’s helicopter fleet, the IAF says. The helicopter has been customised to suit the IAF’s future 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. These helicopters’ ability, 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 also provide a significant edge in future joint operations in support of land forces.
India has already bought the Chinook transport helicopter, made by Boeing, from the US. The Chinook is a multi-role, vertical-lift platform, which is used for transporting troops, artillery, equipment, and fuel.