New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF), on Tuesday, inducted the first batch of eight US-made Apache Guardian Attack Helicopters (AH-64E) at the forward base, Pathankot Air Force Station, with Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa being the Chief Guest.
In view of the ongoing tension between India and Pakistan, this induction assumes significance.
The IAF had signed a contract with aerospace giant Boeing and the US Government for supply of a total of 22 Apache helicopters. The last batch of Apaches will be delivered by March 2020. These have been customized as per the needs of the IAF, whose pilots have already been trained on Apache.
These attack helicopters will replace the IAF’s existing Russian-made Mi-35 fleet and enhance operation capabilities of the IAF and the strike force, he said.
The Apache helicopters are among the world’s most advanced, all-terrain and multi-role combat helicopters.
These state-of-the-art helicopters, also known as ‘flying tanks” due to their sturdy body and manoeverability, are armed with fire-and-forget Hellfire missiles. They can track up to 128 targets in a minute and prioritize threats.
Their missiles equip the gunships with heavy anti-armour capabilities. Apache is also equipped with 70 mm Hydra rockets and air-to-air Stinger missles. Besides, it carries one 39 mm chain gun with 1,200 rounds as part of area weapon subsystem.
Apache is made lethal by the fire control radar it carries with a 360 degree coverage and nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night-vision systems. It has a modern electronic warfare (EW) capability to make it versatile in a network-centric aerial warfare.