8 Apache attack choppers inducted into IAF at Pathankot airbase
The Indian Air Force inducted eight Apache helicopters today at the Pathankot Air Force Station in Punjab.
The US-made Boeing AH-64E Apaches are said to enhance the operational capabilities of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the strike force.
With this new addition, India has now become the 16th nation in the world to be operating the Apache helicopters.
Here are more details.
Apache choppers inducted into IAF's 125 helicopter unit 'Gladiators'
The eight AH-64E choppers have been inducted into the 125 Helicopter Unit 'Gladiators' of the IAF.
Ahead of the induction, a pooja and water canon salute ceremony were also conducted.
IAF Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, the chief guest at the ceremony, said that the helicopters will replace the Mi-35 fleet.
Further, they have been modified to suit the exacting standards demanded by the IAF.
Watch: AH-64E Apache's maiden flight at Hindan airbase
#NewInduction: Glimpses of AH-64E Apache attack helicopter's maiden flight at AFS Hindan.— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) September 2, 2019
The helicopter is planned to be inducted into the IAF on 03 Sep 19 at AFS Pathankot. pic.twitter.com/UYiSrEfOsg
Selected air/ground crew trained in US to operate Apaches
The IAF had previously stated that selected aircrew and ground crew were trained at the US Army base Fort Rucker in Alabama to handle the operationalization of the Apache fleet. The Apaches are equipped with the latest tech and "are day/night, all-weather capable."
IAF upgraded inventory to latest generation attack helicopters: Dhanoa
Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa said, "Today with the induction of the Apache AH-64E the IAF has upgraded its inventory to the latest generation of attack helicopters."
"Alongside the capability to shoot fire and forget anti-tank guided missiles, air-to-air missiles, rockets, and other ammunition, it also has modern Electronic Warfare (EW) capabilities to provide versatility to helicopters in network-centric aerial warfare," he added.
In 2015, India struck million-dollar Apache deal with US, Boeing
In September 2015, India had struck a million-dollar deal with the US government and Boeing for to procure 22 Apache helicopters.
The first Apaches arrived in July this year in batches of four over two days at the Air Force Station, Hindan, Boeing said in a statement.
The entire fleet will be in service with the IAF by the next year.
What are the benefits of an Apache fleet?
Apache is the world's most advanced multi-role heavy attack helicopter.
The Apache is armed with air-to-ground Hellfire missiles, 70mm Hydra rockets, air-to-air Stinger missiles, and one 30 mm chain gun with 1,200 rounds.
It also carries a fire control radar with 360-degree coverage, a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems, and can track up to 128 targets in a minute.