Hello, Warriors! Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on 23rd September cleared a multi-billion dollar deal for 22 Apache attack helicopters and 15 Chinook heavy-lift choppers with American aviation giant Boeing.
The deal, which is valued to be over USD 2.5 billion, has been pending since 2013 following finalisation of cost negotiations. American companies have over the last decade bagged defence contracts from India worth around USD 10 billion, including for aircraft like P-8I maritime surveillance planes, C-130J ‘Super Hercules’ and C-17 Globemaster-III in the transport category.
Here is what you need to know about this deal:
AH 64-E APACHE
- AH 64 Apache Helicopters are described as the most lethal helicopters in the world. Boeing has made over 2,100 machines until now with their first one being introduced in service in 1984.
- The deal between India and Boeing is for Block III configuration AH 64 Apaches that the US first got in 2011. The deal for Apache is “a hybrid one”, with one contract to be signed with Boeing for the helicopter and the other with the US government for its weapons, radars and electronic warfare suites.
- The contract is likely to be expanded to larger number in coming years. A total of 22 choppers are being bought for $ 1.4 billion. The contract will have clauses to place follow-on orders for 11 more Apaches.
- AH 64 Longbow helicopters are one of the most advanced multi-role combat helicopters, featuring all-weather and night fighting features. They have the tremendous ability to track upto 128 targets in less than a minute and engage with 16, besides stealth characteristics, advanced sensors and beyond visual range missiles.
- The chopper is equipped with infrared systems, day-night operability and can fire Hellfire missiles apart from arsenal of 70 mm rockets and an automatic cannon. India will also be acquiring Hellfire missiles and rockets.
- Apache will replace Russian made Mi 35 that are on the verge of retirement. The two pilot Apache is a dedicated attack chopper that experts believe will be a ‘game changer’ in the tactical battle scenario.
- The Army and the Air Force have been sparring over who should operate the Apaches. While the procurement for 22 choppers was mooted by the IAF, the army has put in a strong case for inducting the machines as they are meant for close operations. The Army has now moved a proposal to purchase 39 Apaches for its aviation wing.
- The iconic twin rotor CH-47F CHINOOK chopper is a battle proven machine that has flown countless missions into warzones from Vietnam to Afghanistan and Iraq. While the original Chinook first flew in 1962, it has undergone several upgrades and is now one of the most modern heavy lift choppers in the world.
- The massive helicopter can carry 9.6 tons of cargo, including heavy machinery, artillery guns and even light armoured vehicles to high altitude.
- Suited for mountain operations, the Chinook is highly maneuverable and can get in and out of tight valleys. Its missions range from ferrying troops to disaster relief operations.
- The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has been waiting in particular for the Chinook to complete road building projects in the North East that have been stuck for years for want of a heavy lift chopper that can carry material and equipment through narrow valleys. With Chinook, the BRO will get a major boost for it’s projects.
(Source: The Times of India, IndiaTV News)