First Apache Attack Helicopter Handed Over to Indian Air Force

The Indian Air Force on May 10 received the first of 22 Boeing AH-64D Apache Block III Longbow multirole combat helicopters in a formal ceremony at Boeing’s production facility in Arizona. This helicopter will be shipped to India by July.  In the meantime, select IAF air and ground crews have conducted training at U.S. Army facilities at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

India ordered the 22 Apache Block III Longbows on September 28, 2015, under a deal that included an option for 11 additional units.

The Indian Army has requested that the Defence Ministry exercise the 11-unit option so that it can absorb those AH-64Es into the Army Aviation Corps (AAC).  India’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) wavered, but on August 17, 2017, agreed to allow the MoD to order six Apache Guardians – instead of the full 11‑unit complement – for the AAC.

Under the proposed deal, the Army will receive the six Guardians armed with HELLFIRE and Stinger missiles at a cost of around $650 million. Though the deal was green-lighted by the DAC in August 2017, it was not until February 2018 that India issued a Letter of Request (LOR) to the U.S. government for the acquisition. That Foreign Military Sale (FMS) request, at an estimated $930 million. was then approved by the U.S. State Department, with notification sent to Congress on June 12, 2018.

The initial six-helicopter batch would be earmarked for the first of three Apache units assigned to each of the Army’s three strike corps.


About Daniel Darling

Dan Darling is a senior analyst covering both the Europe and Asia-Pacific regions for Forecast International's International Military Markets group.

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