New Delhi’s Defence Acquisition Council has approved the acquisition of six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters for the army at a cost of $ 651 million.
The deal still needs final approval from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), and a formal contract could take up to a year.
In September 2015, Boeing received orders for 22 AH-64E Apache’s and 15 CH-47F Chinooks. The contract also contained options for 11 Apaches and 7 Chinooks.
Boeing will commence air force Apache deliveries in 2019. Once the air force receives all 22 of its Apaches, then the army’s six will be delivered.
Boeing will supply the Apache platform as a direct commercial sale (DCS). The engines, sensors and armament will be supplied by the US Govt as a foreign military sale (FMS).
The air force operates two squadrons of Mi-25/35 attack helicopters. The type is well regarded as a tough, robust and stable weapons platform. Serviceability of the ageing fleet has proved to be a challenge. The air force also operates weaponised variants of the Mi-17.
The Army is now inducting Dhruv Mk IV WSI (Weapon Systems Integrated) helicopters, built by Hindustan Aeronautics, with a total of 60 to enter service.
Hindustan Aeronautics will also supply 114 Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) to the Army. The type is in the final stages of development trials.