Apache attack helicopter (File Photo)
The first batch of 4 Apache attack helicopters, which was handed over to India in July, will be formally inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF)’s fleet in Pathankot, Punjab next month. On July 27, US aerospace major Boeing delivered the first four of the 22 Apache attack helicopters to the IAF.
Speaking to the news agency IANS, a senior Defence Ministry official said that Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is likely to preside over the induction ceremony as the chief guest on September 3.
"Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa has already given his consent for the induction ceremony. The helicopters will be handed over by the manufacturer to the Air Force. The induction ceremony will be held at the Pathankot Air Force Station," the official was quoted as saying.
The development comes nearly four years after a multi-billion-dollar deal was sealed for 22 AH-64E Apache, which is one of the world's most advanced multi-role combat helicopters and is flown by the US Army.
The IAF had signed the multi-billion-dollar contract with the US government and Boeing Ltd in September 2015 for 22 Apache helicopters. The addition will significantly enhance the force's combat capabilities as the chopper has been customised to suit IAF's future requirements, the IAF officials earlier said in a statment.
Boeing said the AH-64E has the latest technology insertions, maintaining its standing as the world's best attack helicopter. 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.