Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will induct US-made Apache AH-64E attack helicopters into the Indian Air Force at Pathankot in Punjab on September 3. The first four of the 22 helicopters were handed over to the air force by US aerospace major Boeing on July 27.
Flown by the US Army, the AH-64E Apache is one of the world’s most advanced multi-role combat helicopters. Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman will be flying the MiG-21 jet during the induction ceremony of Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian Attack Helicopters at the Pathankot Air Base.
“The IAF is organising an induction ceremony of Apache AH-64E helicopters at the Pathankot air force station on September”, Defence Spokesman Lt Col Devender Anand said. Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa will be the chief guest for the event, he added.
Along with Apaches, the government had also cleared the procurement of Chinook heavy-lift choppers from the US in the same year. In 2017, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) cleared the procurement of six choppers for the aviation arm of the Indian Army at a cost of Rs 4168 crore. IAF is slated to fly 22 Apaches by 2020.
“The arrival of the Apaches, ahead-of-schedule, validates Boeing’s commitment to delivering on its promise of modernising India’s defence forces. Boeing has ensured high rate of mission readiness and increased operational capabilities through its current partnerships with the IAF,” Boeing said in a statement. “By 2020, the IAF will operate a fleet of 22 Apaches, and these first deliveries are ahead of schedule,” Boeing said.