The Indian Air Force (IAF) has decided to acquire 22 Apache AH-64D multirole combat helicopters from the US aerospace major Boeing. The financial bids were opened last week and the deal for the 22 Apache attack helos is to the tune of $ 1.4 billion.
The IAF deal for 22 Apache Ah-64 D combat helicopters will include both direct commercial sale (DCS) and foreign military sales (FMS) components besides offsets. The DCS contract primarily consists of the aircraft (without engines/sensors), logistic support, spares and services while the FMS contract includes munitions, training, aircraft certification and components including engines, electro-optical sensors and the fire control radar.
Boeing has indicated that the timing of deliveries will depend on the specific requirements of the IAF. According to the RFP, deliveries should start within 36 months of the contract signing.
In the race for the attack helicopters, Boeing’s AH-64D Apache Longbow had met all ASQRs (air staff qualitative requirements) during the extensive field trials conducted by the IAF, while the Russian Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant’s Mi-28 Havoc did not fare well. Russia had announced late last year that it was out of the race after failing to meet several of the IAF’s technical requirements.
The multi-mission AH-64D attack helicopter is the next-generation version of the original AH-64A Apache chopper. The Apache AH-64 D has two high-performance turbo-shaft engines and can cruise at a maximum speed of 284 kmph.
Among the other unique features, the Apache AH-64 D combat chopper also has laser, infrared and other systems like the target acquisition designation sight/pilot night vision sensor to locate, track and attack targets. The aircraft carries a combination of laser-guided Hellfire missiles, 70-mm rockets and a 30-mm automatic cannon loaded with up to 1,200 high-explosive, dual-purpose ammunition rounds.
As for the Indian armed forces, they are looking to induct as many as 900 helicopters in the coming decade. These will include 384 light-utility and observation helicopters, 139 medium-lift helicopters, 90 naval multi-role helicopters and significant numbers of heavy-lift and light combat choppers.