May 10, 2019
The first batch of the AH-64E (I) Apache Guardian helicopters is scheduled to be shipped to India by July 2019
To support the assets, selected Indian Air Force aircrew and ground crew were trained at a US Army base
TBAL, a JV of Boeing and India’s TASL had opened a plant at Hyderabad to build parts of Apache helicopter
Building on the “Make in India” initiative, India is looking to set up a US$25 billion defence industry by 2025
The Indian Air Force received its first AH-64E (I) Apache Guardian helicopter from the Boeing facility in Mesa, Arizona, on May 10. Air Marshal AS Butola, on behalf of the Indian Air Force, accepted the delivery at a ceremony that was attended by representatives from the US Government. The Indian Air Force had signed a contract with the US Government and Boeing in 2015 for 22 Apache helicopters. The first batch of these helicopters is scheduled to be shipped to India by July 2019. To support these assets, selected Indian Air Force aircrew and ground crew were trained at the US Army base Fort Rucker, Alabama.
The addition of AH-64E (I) Apache Guardian helicopter is a significant step towards the modernisation of Indian Air Force’s helicopter fleet. The helicopter has been customized to suit Indian Air Force’s future requirements and would have strong capability in mountainous terrain. The helicopters are equipped to carry out precision attacks at standoff ranges and operate in hostile airspace with ground threats. The ability of these helicopters, to transmit and receive the battlefield picture, to and from weapon systems through data networking makes it a lethal acquisition. These will provide an edge in future operations.
The India-US partnership in Apache goes beyond the sale of end products. Tata Boeing Aerospace (TBAL), a joint venture of Boeing and India’s Tata Advanced Systems (TASL), had opened a new plant in 2018 at Hyderabad. Spread across 14,000 sq meters and employing 350 workers, the plant will be the sole global producer of fuselages for AH-64 Apache helicopter delivered by Boeing to its global customers including the US Army. The partnership came amid rising activity in India’s aerospace and defence industry, buoyed by the Government’s “Make in India” initiative. India is eyeing a US$25 billion defence industry by 2025.
The TBAL plant will also produce secondary structures and vertical spar boxes of the multi-role combat helicopter. More than 2,200 Boeing-made Apache helicopters have been operated by customers around the world since the aircraft entered production. The US Army Apache fleet alone has accumulated more than 4.2 million flight hours. The helicopter has been selected for acquisition by the armed forces of 16 countries, including India. Boeing is looking to further its business engagements in India.