On May 10, Boeing [BA] delivered an AH-64E Apache attack helicopter to the Indian Air Force–India’s first–in a ceremony at the company’s Mesa, Ariz., production line.
Indian Air Marshal AS Butola accepted the AH-64E on behalf of the Indian government at the ceremony.
The Indian government said on May 10 that the delivery of the AH-64E “is a significant step toward modernization of the 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,” according to the Indian government. “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.”
Under a $930 million direct commercial sales agreement last June, Boeing was approved to sell India six AH-64Es, according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
Also included in the package are 14 T700-General Electric [GD]-701D engines, four AN/APG-78 fire control radars, four Block III radar electronic units (REU), four AN/APR-48B modernized radar frequency interferometers (M-RFI’s), 180 AGM-114L-3 Hellfire Longbow missiles, 90 AGM-114R-3 Hellfire II missiles, 200 Stinger man-portable air defense (MANPAD) missiles, seven modernized target acquisition designation sight/pilot night vision sensors (MTADS-PNVS) and 14 embedded GPS inertial navigation systems (EGI).
“This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the U.S.-Indian strategic relationship and to improve the security of an important partner which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in South Asia,” DCSA said at the time. “This support for the AH-64E will provide an increase in India’s defensive capability to counter ground-armored threats and modernize its armed forces. India will have no difficulty absorbing the helicopters and support equipment into its armed forces.”
India and the U.S. in 2015 entered a formal agreement charting a course for a mutually supportive defense relationship over the next 10 years, including a tech-sharing agreement called the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).
Anticipating increased defense manufacturing cooperation between the two countries, Boeing entered a joint venture with India’s Tata Advanced Systems last year to manufacture aerostructures for defense and commercial aircraft.
In September 2015, India ordered 22 AH-64Es and 15 Boeing CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift utility helicopters.