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Boost for India's aerial firepower as IAF inducts 8 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters

IAF PRO, Anupam Banerjee said, "It's a ceremonial induction of the aircraft into IAF. As of now, we've 8 aircraft. The other aircrafts will come in a phased manner and all will be inducted into IAF. We had attack helicopters earlier, but this aircraft brings in lethal firepower with great accuracy."

Boost for India's aerial firepower as IAF inducts 8 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters
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In a major boost to the Indian Air Force (IAF), eight Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian Attack Helicopters was inducted into service at Pathankot Air Force Station on Tuesday. Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa was the chief guest during the induction ceremony. The first batch comprises of eight of the total 22 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters.

Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on Monday said the Apache attack choppers will enhance the operational capability of the Indian Air Force (IAF) as a strike force. Speaking at the induction ceremony of the AH-64E Apache Guardian Attack choppers, Dhanoa said, "Apache attack choppers are being purchased to replace the aging Mi-35. This is an advanced multi-mission helicopter that is being operated worldwide by many countries."

Terming it as one of the most fierce attack helicopters, the IAF chief said, "The platform has been flying since the 80s and has proved itself as an operational success across the globe. It is one of the most fierce attack choppers along with the capability to shoot, fire and forget ATGMs, rockets and other ammunition." The IAF chief said with the induction of Apache choppers, the force has upgraded its inventory to the latest generation of attack helicopters.

IAF PRO, Anupam Banerjee said, "It's a ceremonial induction of the aircraft into IAF. As of now, we've 8 aircraft. The other aircrafts will come in a phased manner and all will be inducted into IAF. We had attack helicopters earlier, but this aircraft brings in lethal firepower with great accuracy."

It is to be noted that AH-64E Apache Guardian Attack helicopter is the world’s most lethal attack helicopter. The first batch of the Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian Attack Helicopters arrived in India on July 27, 2019, at the IAF Hindon Airbase in Ghaziabad. After a series of user trials, the Apache helicopters were sent to the Pathankot Air Base for a final induction into service.

The helicopters have been customized to suit the force`s future requirements and would have significant capability in mountainous terrain with the capability to carry out precision attacks at standoff ranges and operate in hostile airspace with threats from the ground.

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The helicopters will replace the Mi-35 choppers stationed in Pathankot and Group Captain M Shaylu will command the squadron.

The AH-64 Apache is used by the widely by the US Army and a number of defence forces of other countries. This attack helicopter is equipped with a 30-mm machine gun and is capable of firing up to 1,200 rounds at a time. The AH-64 Apache helicopter comes 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 is also capable of carrying 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. Experts maintain that the induction of Apache 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.