IA raises first squadron of Apache attack helicopters in Jodhpur near Pak border

The Indian Army (IA) last week raised its first squadron of Apache attack helicopters in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur with the aim of supporting ground operations near the Pakistan border.

Developed by the US aviation manufacturer Boeing, Apache attack helicopters are known as the ‘tanks in the air’.

They are advanced multi-mission helicopters with the latest technology and have come to be known the best attack helicopters in the world.

These advanced attack helicopters are expected to land at the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Hindon Air Force Station and then will be deployed in Jodhpur, near the India-Pakistan border, officials told India Today.

They added that these high-end choppers are under manufacturing units in the US and reach Jodhpur by May this year.

The Army Aviation Corps, which currently operates utility helicopters such as the Dhruv and Chetak, previously inducted the indigenously developed Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) Prachand at Assam’s Missamari last year.

The ability of these helicopters to transmit and receive the battlefield picture, to and from the weapon systems through data networking categorises it as a lethal acquisition.

The first squadron of Apache helicopters was raised in the presence of Aviation Corps Director General Lt. Gen Ajay Suri and other senior officials, officials said.

According to an officer, the delivery, initially scheduled to begin in February, has been slightly delayed, with the first three Apaches now expected in May.

Progress in Apache Helicopter Acquisition

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has already inducted 22 Boeing-manufactured Apache helicopters under a Rs 13,952 crore deal signed with the US in September 2015.

Notably, the IAF already have deployed these helicopters on the eastern and western fronts.

The Army, under a separate Rs 5,691 crore deal inked in February 2020, will receive six choppers.

Capabilities of Apache Helicopters

The Apache helicopters, often referred to as “tanks in the air,” are equipped with Stinger air-to-air missiles, Hellfire Longbow air-to-ground missiles, guns, and rockets.

They are primarily intended to provide integrated combat aviation cover for the ‘strike corps’ of the Army.

Future Plans for Helicopter Induction

Both the Army and the IAF are set to induct 156 indigenous Prachand light combat helicopters in the coming years.

These helicopters are capable of offensive operations in high-altitude areas such as the Siachen Glacier and eastern Ladakh.

Fifteen such choppers (10 IAF and 5 Army) have already been inducted under the first Rs 3,887 crore contract for them.

Special features of the Apache Helicopters

The Apache AH-64E is recognized as the world’s most advanced combat helicopter, featuring an advanced night vision system and the capability to arm missiles that can strike 138 targets in a minute.

With a maximum speed of 280 km/h, this helicopter is a formidable force in the sky.

Equipped with AGM 114 Hellfire anti-tank missiles and Stinger missiles, the Apache AH-64E is prepared to handle both ground and aerial threats.

The Hellfire missiles are particularly effective against armored vehicles like tanks and BMPs, while the Stinger missiles are designed to neutralize airborne threats.

Additionally, the helicopter is armed with Hydra-70 unguided missiles, which can effectively target ground-based threats.

Source: https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/apache-attack-helicopter-squadron-near-pakistan-border-indian-army-rajasthan-jodhpur-2515320-2024-03-15