The United States aerospace major Boeing on Saturday handed over the the first four of the 22 Apache attack helicopters to the Indian Air Force (IAF) at the Hindan air base in Ghaziabad. According to reports, four more Apache AH-64 choppers will reach Indian next week. All these eight chopper will be stationed at Pathankot Air Force Station where they will be stationed permanently. Indian Air Force Soon to Get Boeing’s Apache And Chinook Helicopters.
The first batch of attach helicopters were delivered to the IAF almost four years after India signed a deal to procure 22 Apache AH-64E helicopters. Boeing handed the first AH-64E (I) – Apache Guardian helicopter to the IAF in Mesa of USA’s Arizona in May. Earlier this month two new heavy-lift Chinook helicopters for the IAF arrived at the Mundra port.
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, in 2017, 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.
The Boeing AH-64 Apache is an American twin-turboshaft attack helicopter with a tailwheel-type landing gear arrangement and a tandem cockpit for a crew of two. It features a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems. The helicopter was introduced to U.S. Army service in April 1986.
The Indian Air Force on Friday initiated a process to acquire 110 fighter jets. The IAF issued a Request for Information (RFI) for $15 billion deal. It is considered to be the biggest defence deal. The fighter jets would jointly be produced by a foreign company in collaboration with an Indian company under ‘Make in India’ campaign. This will also give a big push to indigenous defence production capability.
Initially single engine fighter jets of American company Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70 and Swedish company SAAB’s Gripen were the main contenders in the race to get $15 billion deal, but later Indian government asked the IAF to consider Boeing’s F-18 Super Hornet. During French President Emmanuel Marcon’s visit to India in March there were speculations that India would extend Rafale deal by announcing to procure more 36 Rafale jets. The Indian government still has not made any official announcement regarding this.
The IAF would get 85 single engine fighter jets and rest 25 would be twin engine fighter jets. Currently the Indian Air Force has 34 fighter jet squadrons against the authorized strength of 42 squadrons. Though the IAF would be getting 3 squadrons of Sukhoi 30-MKI, two Squadrons of Rafale, but by 2025 most of the squadron if MIG’s would get retired and Indigenous built Light Combat Aircraft Tejas has still not met the requirement of The Indian Air Force. Presently the IAF has 17 squadrons of various MIG fighter jets. So over the next 10 years the IAF would be requiring almost 300-400 fighter jets to attain its full strength.
Now the question arises that when can the Indian government close the deal of acquiring 110 fighter jets or will it take even time than Rafale deal? The second thing is that if in 2019 elections new government comes to power then what is the guarantee that this deal will continue in the same manner or the new government would scrap the old deal as happened in the case of Rafale deal? This would delay the deal of acquiring these jests. As we witnessed that a very big political controversy haunted the Rafele deal regarding the pricing of the jets, what would be the surety that no controversy would haunt this deal as it is much bigger deal that the Rafale deal?