First AH-64E (I) – Apache Guardian helicopter was formally handed over to the Indian Air Force at Boeing production facility in Mesa, Arizona, USA on 10 May 19. Air Marshal AS Butola, represented the Indian Air Force and accepted the first Apache in a ceremony at Boeing production facility, representatives from US Government were also present.
IAF had signed a contract with US Government and M/s Boeing Ltd in Sep 2015 for 22 Apache helicopters. The first batch of these helicopters is scheduled to be shipped to India by Jul this year. Selected aircrew and ground crew have undergone training at the training facilities at US Army base Fort Rucker, Alabama. These personnel will lead the 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 helicopter has been customized to suit 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 ground. The ability of these helicopters, 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 provide significant edge in any future joint operations in support of land forces.