In a significant boost to the Indian Air Force (IAF), the first batch of Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian Attack Helicopters, world’s most lethal attack helicopter, arrived on Saturday at the IAF Hindon Airbase in Ghaziabad. The first batch comprises of four of the total 22 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, that will be delivered to India.
Taking to Twitter, Boeing India announced, "The first four of 22 Boeing AH-64E Apaches have arrived in India. The world’s most lethal attack helicopter will give significant combat capabilities to @IAF_MCC."
Following final assembly and a series of user trials, the helicopters will be sent to Pathankot Air Base, near the India-Pakistan border, for a final induction into service. According to news agency ANI, the helicopters will replace the Mi-35 choppers stationed there. According to the report, Group Captain M Shaylu will command the squadron. Currently, 125 Helicopter Squadron of Mi-35 choppers is also stationed at Pathankot.
The first IAF unit to receive the new helicopter gunships will be the 125 Helicopter Squadron (125 H SQUADRON) deployed at Pathankot. The second AH-64E-equipped squadron will reportedly be stationed at Jorhat Air Base in Assam.
The AH-64 Apache is the world’s most advanced multi-role combat helicopter and is used by the US Army and a growing number of international defense forces. Boeing has delivered more than 2,100 Apaches to customers around the world since the aircraft entered production. The US Army Apache fleet has accumulated (as of January 2015) more than 3.9 million flight hours since the first AH-64A was delivered to the US Army in 1984.
The Apache AH-64E helicopter is equipped with a 30-mm machine gun, which can fire up to 1,200 rounds at a time. Apart from this, Apache is also equipped with the anti-tank Hellfire missile, which is believed to be capable of destroying a tank. As an additional weapon, 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, which helps it to reach the enemy at a tremendous speed in the air.
The helicopter has the capability to carry out precision attacks at standoff ranges and operate in hostile airspace with threats from the 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 a significant edge in any future joint operations in support of land forces and also help India in fortifying its border with Pakistan.
The first AH-64E was officially handed over to the IAF during a ceremony at Boeing’s production Center in Mesa, Arizona, on May 10. Air Marshal AS Butola, accepted the first Apache in a ceremony at Boeing production facility. During the ceremony, representatives from the US Government were also present.
Air and ground crews for the AH-64Es have undergone extensive training over the last couple of months at Fort Rocker, Alabama. India had signed a USD 2.2 billion contract with the United States and Boeing for the delivery of 22 AH-64Es for the IAF in September 2015. “The addition of AH-64 E (I) helicopter is a significant step towards modernisation of IAF’s helicopter fleet. The helicopter has been customized to suit IAF’s future requirements and would have significant capability in mountainous terrain,” the IAF had said in a statement earlier.
The Technical Specifications of AH-64E Apache:
* 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)