In a major boost to India’s air defence capabilities, the Indian Air Force (IAF) inducted eight Apache helicopters on Tuesday at the Pathankot Air Base in Punjab. The variant of the helicopter, Apache A64E, is the most advanced version and has been designed by the US-based manufacturer Boeing to meet the IAF’s requirements.
Boeing formally handed over the aircraft keys to Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa at the function in Pathankot. “The IAF has been flying helicopters since 1954. Since then there has been no looking back. We have proved our mettle in various missions. We have operated various types of helicopters in the past,” said Dhanoa. The eight helicopters were brought to India in two separate batches. They were delivered at the Hindon Air Base in Ghaziabad over July and August in two equal batches of four choppers each.
“Apache helicopter is an advanced multi-mission helicopter being operated worldwide by the US, UK, Israel and many numbers of countries. The helicopter has proved itself as an operational success across the world. It is one of the most fierce attack helicopters in the world,” he added. India had signed a multi-billion contract with Boeing in September 2015 for purchasing 22 Apache helicopters. The entire fleet is scheduled to be delivered to the IAF by the year 2020.