Indian Air Force Aircrew Begins Training on AH-64E Apache Attack Helicopters

The Indian Air Force (IAF) aircrew have commenced training on Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters which will be inducted into the service in near future, IAF announced.

The statement from the IAF added that the new helicopter, once inducted, will enhance combat capability of the service.

In July this year, the first AH-64E Apache attack helicopter built for the IAF conducted its maiden flight at Boeing’s AH-64 Apache manufacturing facility in Mesa, Arizona in USA. The IAF’s CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopter also performed its maiden flight in the same month.

Indian Air Force will ultimately receive 22 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and 15 CH-47F(I) Chinook helicopters, for which a contract, worth $3.1 billion, was finalized in September 2015. These platforms will start arriving in the country in the middle of 2019.

Additionally, six Apaches were cleared for purchase for the Indian Army in 2017. Attack helicopters have been on the army’s wish list for several years, but the IAF has objected to the plan. The army has a requirement for more attack helicopters as it had moved a case to buy 39 Apaches three years before.

Fuselages for this Army order will be produced by Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited, the joint venture between Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) in Hyderabad. On June 19, Tata Boeing Aerospace announced the delivery of the first AH-64 Apache combat helicopter fuselage ahead of schedule from its state-of-the-art facility in Hyderabad, India.

Today, customers around the world operate more than 2,300 Boeing-made Apache helicopters since the aircraft entered production. The helicopter has been fielded or selected for acquisition by the armed forces of 16 countries, including India. The U.S. Army Apache fleet alone has accumulated more than 4.3 million flight hours, including more than 1.2 million in combat, as of January 2018.

Currently, the Indian helicopter fleet is made up of mostly Russian platforms such as Mil Mi-17 utility helicopters, Mi- 26 heavy-lift helicopters and Mi-24 attack helicopters.

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