Indian Airforce
Air Mshl AS Butola represented the IAF and accepted the first Apache in a ceremony at Boeing production facility.Source: IAF Twitter Page

In a major addition to the offensive abilities, the first ever AH-64E Apache attack helicopter built for India was formally handed over to the Indian Air Force (IAF) at Boeing production facility in Mesa, the US, on Saturday. The Indian Air force was represented by Air Marshal AS Butola and received the first Apache at the Boeing production facility. The complete first batch of these attack chopper is expected to be shipped to India by July.

In a statement, the IAF said "Selected aircrew and ground crew have undergone training at the training facilities at U.S. Army base Fort Rucker in Alabama. These personnel will lead the operationalisation of the Apache fleet in the IAF." It further added that the addition of AH-64 E (I) helicopter is a significant step towards modernization of Indian Air Force's helicopter fleet. Moreover, the helicopter has been customized as per IAF's future requirements and would play a significant role in mountainous terrain.

Apache helicopter
These choppers can carry out quick and destructive air assaults. (File photo: A US Apache helicopter fires a missile during a live fire gunnery exercise with the South Korean army in 2018)Reuters

The Boeing AH-64 Apache is an American twin-turboshaft attack helicopter with a tailwheel-type landing gear arrangement. With the objective of increasing its air capabilities, India has signed a contract with the United States government to buy 15 Chinook and 22 Apache attack helicopters at a cost of $3 billion. While the Chinook's have already been delivered to the IAF, the first Apache was handed over to Indian o Saturday. Additionally, Trump administration has already approved India's request for buying another six Apache helicopters.

The Apache attack helicopter will be stationed at Hindon airbase in Ghaziabad, UP. Induction of these helicopters is seen as game-changer for the Indian armed forces as it's Airforce is still relied on Russian Mi-17 medium-lift helicopters for rapid induction of forces and an obsolete squadron of Russian Mi-26 helicopters