Indian Air Force's combat capabilities will get a major boost as eight US-made Apache AH-64E attack helicopters are set to be inducted into the IAF on September 3. The AH-64E Apache is one of the world's most advanced multi-role combat helicopters. The IAF had signed a multi-billion dollar contract with the US government and Boeing Ltd in September 2015 for 22 Apache helicopters. The first four of the 22 helicopters was handed over to the air force by Boeing on July 27.
Described as the most lethal attack helicopter in the world, the Apache has been in service since 1984 with over 2,100 machines produced. The version that India is purchasing is the latest Block III configuration that the US first got in 2011.
What's great about Apache AH-64E?
The stealthy, versatile chopper is designed for all kinds of missions. Equipped with laser and infrared systems for a weather, day-night operability, the Apache fires the Hellfire missiles, besides its arsenal of 70 mm rockets and an automatic cannon.
AH-64E Apache is equipped with a 30-mm machine gun and is capable of firing up to 1,200 rounds at a time. It also comes with the anti-tank Hellfire missile. A Hydra Unguided Rocket, capable of perfect execution of any target on land, is also installed. The helicopter can fly at a speed of 150 nautical miles per hour.
The helicopter is also capable of carrying out precision attacks at standoff ranges and operate in hostile airspace with threats from the ground. Experts maintain that the induction of Apache attack helicopters will provide a significant edge in any future joint operations in support of land forces and also help India in fortifying its border with Pakistan.
AH-64E Apache Technical Specifications
Length: Maximum Level Flight Speed
Height: 15.24 ft (4.64 m)
Wing Span: 17.15 ft (5.227 m)
Primary Mission Gross Weight: 15,075 lb (6,838 kg)
Vertical Rate of Climb: More than 2,000 ft per minute
Maximum Rate of Climb: More than 2,800 ft per minute
Maximum Level Flight Speed: More than 150 knots (279 kilometers per hour)
Watch: AH-64E Apache Attack Helicopters at Hindon
The IAF has recently released a video on its official twitter showing Apache helicopters being unloaded from the cargo aircraft. IAF also shared the video of AH64E's first flight.
#NewInduction: Glimpses of AH-64E Apache attack helicopter's maiden flight at AFS Hindan.— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) September 2, 2019
The helicopter is planned to be inducted into the IAF on 03 Sep 19 at AFS Pathankot. pic.twitter.com/UYiSrEfOsg
The AH-64E Apache for the Indian Air Force completed successful first flights in July 2018. The first batch of Indian Air Force crew began their training to fly the Apache in the US in 2018. By 2020, the IAF will operate a fleet of 22 Apaches.