Related Topics: Defence Procurement, Indian Air Force
- Indian Air Force (IAF) has formally inducted eight AH-64E Apache attack helicopters into service at the Pathankot Air Force Station.
- This new 125 Squadron is called the ‘Gladiators’.
About Apache Helicopter
- Apache is the most advanced multi-role heavy attack helicopter in the world.
- It is made by US company Boeing and is used by the U.S. Army and a large number of international defence forces.
- India is the 16th nation to select the Apache and the AH-64E is the most advanced variant.
- It has the capability to shoot fire and forget anti-tank guided missiles, air-to-air missiles, rockets and other ammunitions.
- It has modern Electronic Warfare (EW) capabilities to provide versatility to helicopters in a network-centric aerial warfare.
- Apache’s rotor mounted radar can transmit battlefield pictures to Airborne Warning and Controls Systems (Awacs) mounted on other aircraft.
- The helicopter is capable of delivering a variety of weapons which include air-to-ground Hellfire missiles, 70 mm Hydra rockets and air-to-air Stinger missiles.
- It carries fire control radar, which has 360 degree coverage and nose mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems.
- It also carries one 30 mm chain gun with 1,200 rounds as part of area weapon sub-system.
- These helicopters “are day/night, all weather capable and have high agility and survivability against battle damage.”
- Its cockpit is bulletproof, making it ideal for use against tanks and armoured vehicles.
- Apache will be the first pure attack helicopter in India’s possession.
- While the Russian origin Mi 35 has been operated for years and is now on the verge of retirement, it was an assault chopper that was designed to carry troops into heavily defended territories.
- The induction of the ‘state of art’ helicopters comes amid ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan after the Indian air strikes on a terrorist facility in Balakot on February 26, 2019.
- The addition of Apache Attack Helicopter is a significant step towards modernisation of Indian Air Force helicopter fleet.
- This procurement will enhance the capability of IAF in providing integrated combat aviation cover to the army strike corps.
[Sources: The Hindu, Economic Times]