IAF Gets First Apache Helicopter During Ceremony Held at Boeing’s Production Facility in United States’ Arizona; Watch Video

Apache Guardian helicopter AH-64E (I) was formally handed over to the Indian Air Force (IAF) by the United States’ aerospace major Boeing at Mesa in Arizona, USA on May 10. Air Marshal AS Butola, represented the IAF and accepted the first Apache in a ceremonyheld  at Boeing production facility. Representatives from US Government were also present.

Video of Apache Helicopter:

 

IAF had signed a contract with US Government and M/s Boeing Ltd in September 2015 for 22 Apache helicopters. The first batch of these helicopters is scheduled to be shipped to India by July this year. Selected aircrew and ground crew have undergone training at the training facilities at US Army base Fort Rucker, Alabama. These personnel will lead the operationalisation of the Apache fleet in the IAF.

IAF’s Tweet:

“The addition of AH-64 E (I) helicopter is a significant step towards modernisation of Indian Air Force’s helicopter fleet. The helicopter has been customized to suit IAF’s future requirements and would have significant capability in mountainous terrain,” said the IAF in a statement.

IAF’s Tweet:

The helicopter has the capability to carry out precision attacks at standoff ranges and operate in hostile airspace with threats from ground. The ability of these helicopters, to transmit and receive the battlefield picture, to and from the weapon systems through data networking makes it a lethal acquisition. These attack helicopters will provide significant edge in any future joint operations in support of land forces.

IAF’s Tweet:

According to Hindustan Times report, the first batch of choppers will be based at the Pathankot air base. He report further added that the choppers will be split into two squadrons, with the second one to be based in eastern part of India in Jorhat. Indian Army Tests ‘Air Cavalry’ Using Attack Helicopters.

The IAF is currently operating Soviet-origin Mi-25 and Mi-35 helicopter gunships. Boeing is likely to deliver all the 22 helicopters through 2020. Meanwhile, on March 25, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa inducted the first batch of four Chinook helicopters into the IAF.

New Delhi signed a $ 3 billion deal to buy 22 Apache and 15 Chinook helicopters in September 2015 with Boeing and the government of the United States. The Indian government signed a direct contract with the Boeing to procure Chinook helicopters, while the deal to buy Apache helicopters is a mixed one. India Signs $3-Billion Deal With Russia to Get Akula Class Nuclear Submarine, Chakra-III on Lease.

A part of the deal was signed with the US aviation company and the other half is signed with the US government under foreign military sales route. Meanwhile, last year, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government signed another deal with the Boeing to acquire six Apache helicopters for the Indian Army. It will be the first fleet of attack helicopters of the army.

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Apache AH-64E Attack Helicopters to be Inducted Into Indian Air Force This July: Report

The Indian Air Force (IAF) will soon induct United States (US)-made Apache AH-64E attack helicopters, as the first batch of our choppers will arrive in July this year, reported Hindustan Times. India had inked a $ 1.1-billion deal with the US defence giant Boeing, in September 2015 for 22 Apaches.

According to the report, the first batch of choppers will be based at the Pathankot air base. He report further added that the choppers will be split into two squadrons, with the second one to be based in eastern part of India in Jorhat. Indian Air Force Soon to Get Boeing’s Apache And Chinook Helicopters.

Video of Apache helicopter in action:

 

The IAF is currently operating Soviet-origin Mi-25 and Mi-35 helicopter gunships. Boeing is likely to deliver all the 22 helicopters through 2020. Meanwhile, on March 25, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa inducted the first batch of four Chinook helicopters into the IAF.

The Chinook heavy-lift helicopters had arrived in India from the US on February 10 this year. The multi-mission helicopters, which have been deployed in Chandigarh, will be used for transports artillery, troops, equipment, supplies to the battlefield. Indian Navy to Get MH-60 ‘Romeo’ Seahawk Helicopters Soon; US Approves USD 2.6 Billion Deal.

New Delhi signed a $ 3 billion deal to buy 22 Apache and 15 Chinook helicopters in September 2015 with Boeing and the government of the United States. The Indian government signed a direct contract with the Boeing to procure Chinook helicopters, while the deal to buy Apache helicopters is a mixed one. India Signs $3-Billion Deal With Russia to Get Akula Class Nuclear Submarine, Chakra-III on Lease.

A part of the deal was signed with the US aviation company and the other half is signed with the US government under foreign military sales route. Meanwhile, last year, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government signed another deal with the Boeing to acquire six Apache helicopters for the Indian Army. It will be the first fleet of attack helicopters of the army.

(Picture Courtesy: Twitter/@Boeing_In)

United States Raises Concerns Over India’s Deal With Russia to Procure S-400 Triumf

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S-400 Triumf Missile (Picture Courtesy: Twitter)

The United States is concerned over India’s plans to sign a deal with Russia to procure the S-400 air defence system. The deal is worth Rs 40,000. Chairman of the US House Armed Services Committee Mac Thornberry said that India’s move would hinder the military ties between the two countries. According to Thornberry, concerns about India’s potential purchase of the S-400 have been conveyed to different levels of the US government.

Members of US House Armed Services Committee in India were of the opinion that procuring the Russian system would also make it difficult for the US to share sensitive technology with India in the future. “There is a lot of concern in the US administration and Congress with the S-400. There is concern that any country that acquires the system will complicate the ability of interoperability (with US forces),” reported Economic Times quoted Mac Thornberry as saying.

Thornberry also said that India should consider the decision to purchase the Russian missile system.  India is likely to Ink the deal for procuring S-400 Triumf missile system before October’s annual summit between Prime Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The US had announced sanctions against Russia for its alleged involvement in meddling in the US presidential elections. Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) came into effect in January. Many US lawmakers and experts are of the opinion that India should be exempted from CAATSA.

In April this year, India has issued a Request of Information for the purchase of 110 fighter jets worth $15 billion. The two US-based companies Lockheed Martin and Boeing are pitching their respective fighter jets. Both the companies have agreed to transfer the technology to India. The US is planning to shift entire production line of Lockheed Martin F-16 jet in India. It will be interesting to see whether the US will put under CAATSA after India inks deal with Russia to acquire the most advanced air defence system.

S-400 is an advanced version of S-300. The missile system is capable of travelling at a rate of 4.8 kilometres per second (17,000 km/h; Mach 14). The missile system can destroy incoming enemy fighter jets, missiles and even drones up to the range of 400 km. This missile system is manufactured by Almaz-Antey and is serving Russian Military since 2007.

Indian Army Tests ‘Air Cavalry’ Using Attack Helicopters

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Air Cavalary tested by the Indian Army in Rajasthan (Picture Courtesy: ndtv.com)

The Indian Army has tested the military concept of ‘Air Cavalry’ in the desert terrain of Rajasthan. This concept was used by the US Army to locate and assault enemy ground forces during the Vietnam War.

Weaponised helicopters carry out combined action against the enemy in coordination with tanks and mechanised ground forces during the exercise to enhance its defence capabilities. The Indian Army is looking forward to procure attack helicopters to strengthen its combat air assets.   The concept of launching air attack in coordination with tanks will reshape the way the Indian Army will suppress the enemy attack.

The concept of ‘Air Cavalry’ was tried by the South Western command during recently concluded exercise ‘Vijay Prahar’. Detailed deliberation, sand-model discussions and war gaming were held before carrying out the concept.

In normal battle scenario, attack helicopters are called in only when required by the land forces to repulse the enemy attack if they found it difficult due to difficult terrain or for any other reason. Under the ‘Air Cavalry’ concept, attack helicopters are by default integrated with tanks and mechanised ground forces.

Apart from performing attack role, a fleet of armed helicopters usually carries out troop insertion in forward areas and performing on the spot aerial reconnaissance. The forces achieve more flexibility and fluidity, which enhance their combat capabilities. Under this concept, attack helicopters can hit targets efficiently in the shortest possible time. ‘Air Cavalry’ can be executed in different kind of terrains depending upon the feasibility.

As the Army is inducting helicopters equipped with ultra-modern sensors and high-precision weapons which will give a great boost to the Air Cavalry concept for protecting both eastern and western borders of the country.

The attack helicopters will be used as force multiplier and will increase the potency of ground forces to engage the targets, defence sources said. The concept will be crucial in the land battles in desert along the western front as well as in the eastern front where the terrain is mountainous.

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Apache Helicopter (Picture Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is developing Light Combat Helicopter for the Army which can operate at high altitude. The Defence Ministry in August last year had approved the procurement of the army’s first fleet of Boeing’s six most advanced Apache helicopters. According to PTI, The ministry is purchasing these attack helicopters along with weapons systems at a cost of Rs 4,168 crore.

Indigenous Built LCA-Tejas Performed Well During The ‘Gagan-Shakti 2018’

 

The major positive to take away from the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) biggest war-like exercise, ‘Gagan-Shakti 2018′ is the performance of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas. The indigenously-manufactured (LCA) Tejas was put to test by the IAF in the 14-day long exercise. The aircraft performed as per the requirement of the force.

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LCA-Tejas in action during Gagan-Shakti 2018 (Picture Courtesy:Twitter/@IAF_MCC)

The major positive to take away from the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) biggest war-like exercise, ‘Gagan-Shakti 2018‘ is the performance of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas. The indigenously-manufactured (LCA) Tejas was put to test by the IAF in the 14-day long exercise. The aircraft performed as per the requirement of the force.

An IAF official who was involved in the exercise said, “We did trials and validation of operational efficiency of LCA Tejas. We were able to generate six sorties per platform per day. In this exercise, we had deployed eight platforms.” According to the official, on the very first day of the exercise, six Tejas aircraft reported ‘snag’, but the air force rectified it immediately. The ‘Gagan-Shakti’ started on April 8 and concluded on April 21.

The Officials associated with the exercise performed satisfaction regarding the performance of Tejas, but, they are worried about the slow production rate of the aircraft. LCA Tejas is a supersonic, single seat, single jet, multi-role light fighter designed by Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL). It has been under development since 1983. The LCA Tejas was inducted into ‘Flying Daggers’ 45 Squadron of the IAF on July 1, 2016. It is to replace the ageing Mig-21. In December 2017, Defence Acquisition Council had cleared procurement of 83 LCA Tejas Mark 1A.

At present, two contracts have been signed between IAF and HAL for the LCA one for the procurement of 20 Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) standard aircraft and another for 20 Final Operational Clearance (FOC) standard aircraft. Till now only eight Tejas aircraft are in operation in the force. HAL is expected to provide rest 12 (IOC) aircraft this year. These 40 aircraft (20 IOC and 20 FOC) will be Tejas mark 1. HAL is also working on four major upgrades which it will incorporate in the manufacturing of the next 83 fighter jets out of which 10 are trainer aircraft. These aircraft will be Tejas Mark 1A.

Earlier this month the IAF has issued a Request for Information (RFI) for acquiring 110 fighter jets to strengthen its fighter capabilities. Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70, Saab’s Gripen E, Boeing’s F/A 18 Super Hornet and Dassault Aviation’s Rafale are the major contenders for $15 billion deal. Currently, The Indian Air Force is facing the shortage of fighter jets as age-old Migs are about to retire over the next few years. If HAL could provide LCA Tejas on time, then it would definitely help the Indian Air Force to plug in the required gap.

The ‘Gagan-Shakti 2018’ was organised with the aim to counter twin attack by China and Pakistan along western and northern border. Entire fleet strength of the force was put to test under war-like situation. LCA Tejas finally met the requirement of the Indin Air Force.

DefExpo 2018: Saab and Boeing Eye to Secure $15 Billion Deal with The Indian Air Force

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Boeing Super Hornet F/A 18 (Picture Courtesy: http://www.youtube.com)

The DefExpo 2018 is providing the required impetus to the Indian defence manufacturing industry. US based company Boeing is eyeing to secure $15 billion deal with the Indian Air Force (IAF) to provide 110 fighter jets. It pitches for Super Hornet F/A 18 to the IAF. Boeing on Thursday signed a deal with public sector unit Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Mahindra Defence Systems to manufacture Super Hornets in India. The deal was signed during the ongoing DefExpo in Chennai under the ‘Make in India’ model launched by the Modi government.

The Boeing said that this partnership would will not be limited only to the production of Super Hornets in India but would also work for the development of future technologies in India, which would transform India’s aerospace and defence programmes. Partyush Kumar, President of Boeing India, “Boeing is excited to team up with India’s only company that manufactures combat fighters, HAL, and an Indian company that manufactures small commercial airplanes, Mahindra,” reported The Economics Times. Kumar further added, “Together we can deliver an affordable, combat-proven fighter platform for India, while adding growth momentum to the Indian aerospace ecosystem with manufacturing, skill development, innovation and engineering and job creation.”

According to a report of The Times of India, S P Shukla, Group President, Aerospace & Defence, Mahindra Group, said, “We are excited about the opportunities that this partnership with Boeing and HAL will provide for us to contribute further to ‘Make in India’ for defence.” HAL’s chairman T Suvarna Raju said that the partnership would create an opportunity to strengthen indigenous platforms in India thereby contributing to the Make-in-India activities, reported The Times of India.

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Saab’s Gripen E (Picture Courtesy: http://www.sputniknews.com)

On the other Swedish Company Saab also pitches for Gripen E to secure the deal with the IAF. In an interview to Bloomberg Quint Jan Widerstrom, chairman and managing director at Saab India Technologies Pvt. Ltd said, “We are glad to see that the process has started.” He further added, “Saab is pitching its latest Gripen-E to India.” The Swedish Company partnered with India’s Adani group for manufacture jets for the IAF under the ‘Make in India’ campaign. Saab was also a part of The IAF’s earlier programme for 10 years to provide Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircrafts (MMRCA), but later it was scrapped the Modi government after coming to power. The Modi government then signed a deal with French Government to acquire 36 MMRCA in fly-away condition.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while formally inaugurating the DefExpo 2018 in Chennai said, “We plan to ensure that the process for the new 110 aircraft through strategic partnership is shorter, unlike 10 years it took under the previous government.” Saab also offered transfer of technology to India.

The chairman and managing director at Saab India Technologies Pvt. Ltd said, “We have offered transfer of technology and ‘make in India’ to the government. Our offer is lot more than moving a second-hand production line to India,” Widerstrom further added, “We plan to bring state-of-the-art technology and production line along with capabilities which will eventually lead to thousands of jobs in India.” Saabs involved with the Indian Armed Forces can be traced three decades back.

The Indian Air Force has initiated the process to procure 110 fighter jets last week. Another US company Lockheed Martin, Russian Company Mig and French Company Dassault Aviation will also be eyeing to seal this deal. The companies are required to submit proposals by July 6. The aircrafts will be produced in India by the foreign company in partnership with domestic company under strategic partnership model. The main is to strengthen Indian defence manufacturing sector and to bring advance technology to India.

 

DefExpo 2018: Lockheed Martin and Boeing Gearing up to Secure $15 Billion Deal

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F-16 Block 70 (Picture Courtesy: http://www.indiandefencenews.in)

On the very first day of the DefExpo 2018, two US companies pitch in for their respective fighter jets for getting a deal of supplying 110 fighter jets worth $15 billion to the Indian Air Force (IAF).  This can be considered as a major boost to the ‘Make in India’ campaign

Lockheed Martin offered to set up manufacturing line of F-16 fighter jets in India. Randall Howard who leads F-16 business development at Lockheed Martin, in an Interview to Bloomberg Quint said, “The fighters we offer are state of the art with modern avionics and we are willing to transfer technology to build in India as part of Make in India.” According to Howard, If Lockheed Martin gets the deal then it would shift its entire production line from US to India, which means that India would become exporter of the fighter jets to the world.

Currently 27 countries including Pakistan are flying F-16 Fighter Jets. According to Howard around 4,000 F-16 aircrafts are in use across the world. Lockheed Martin had already tied up with Tata Group to manufacture parts for the C-130J aircraft.

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Super Hornet F/A 18 (Picture Courtesy: http://www.youtube.com)

On the other hand Boeing is also pitching in for F/A 18 Super Hornet for securing $15 billion deal to supply 110 fighter jets for IAF.  According to The Asian Age, Thomas E. Breckenridge, vice-president, India, Global Sales Defence, Space and Security of Boeing, said that they were in the race of acquiring the orders of IAF to procure 110 fighter jets, reported The Asian Age. Speaking on the cost comparison of the two aircrafts, Breckenridge backed Super Hornet. He said that Super Hornet is comparatively cheap and could be maintained at lower cost.

The vice-president, India, Global Sales Defence, Space and Security of Boeing assured of sourcing components from Indian companies. Presently Boeing is sourcing components from 160 Indian companies and would enhance its operation to 400 domestic companies. Breckenridge said that Boeing would soon announce

Russia offers India to Sell 21 used Mig-29s at Cheap Price; Will India Consider The Offer?

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Russian Mig 29

Russia offers India to sell 21 used Mig – 29s at a very cheap price. The Indian government would be very cautious to take a decision of purchasing these 21 fighter jets. India needs to draw parallel from the deal of buying aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov. Russia offered this aircraft carrier free of cost to India, only refurbishment cost was there, which was decided at $950 million. But as soon as the work started, the cost also kept on increasing. Finally India had to pay $2.4 billion, so India ended up paying almost $1.3 billion more than the decided cost. The aircraft carrier was delivered almost five years after the scheduled delivery time.

India will be deeply analysing the proposal of Russia. The Russian government offered a price of $25 million- $30 million for each aircraft, which is almost 30% of the new aircraft. The Indian government would also be considering the hidden cost. The Indian Air Force (IAF) is having Mig -29 UPG in its inventory, but The Russian Migs are different from the one’s the IAF is possessing. India has also rejected the Russian offer to co-develop fifth generation fighter jet because of the high cost involve in it.

Currently The IAF is facing shortage of Fighter squadrons. The Indian Air Force has only 34 fighter squadron against the authorised strength of 42 squadrons. It will reduce further as Migs will be retiring over the next few years. To tackle the shortage and to encounter the joint threat from China and Pakistan, the IAF has initiated a process on Friday to buy 110 fighter jets. Request for Information (RFI) was issued to seek tenders from the companies interested to sell fighter jets to India. Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70, SAAB’s Gripen, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale and Boeing’s F-18 Super Hornet are the main contenders in the race to get $15 billion mega defence deal.