IAF fleet stationed with 8 US Apache helicopters

In a strive to boost India’s combat capabilities, eight US-made Apache AH-64E(I) battle helicopters have been inducted in the Indian Air Force (IAF) fleet today in Pathankot. This step has been taken in order to modernise the IAF fleet and sharpen its capabilities.


In Sep 2015, India signed a $1.1 billion deal with US defence giant Boeing for the supply of 22 advanced Apache choppers while the IAF currently operates with Soviet-origin Mi-25 and Mi-35 helicopter gunships. The first Apache squadron has been raised with eight helicopters that have already been stationed by Boeing while its officials confirmed that they are likely to supply all the 22 helicopters for the IAF through 2020.

Special combating mechanism

These choppers fire anti-armour missiles and are meant to carry tanks and hardened bulky targets in the Rajasthan desert. These are also equipped with advanced sensors which enable detection of targets while flying at low and high speeds to evade detection by enemies. It has the capability to track up to 128 targets in a minute and prioritise threats. The missiles equip gunships that garner heavy anti-armour capabilities.

The second US built helicopter to join IAF

Apache proves to be the second US-built helicopters to join the Indian Air Force while Chinook heavy-lift helicopters were the first set of US-based Boeing to be stationed at the fleet. Boeing CH-47(I), the heavy-lift helicopter was already inducted on March 25 and both the deals paved their way during the UPA era around 2008-09 but due to some procedural issues of the contract, signatures remained pending.

Official statements

"It is the only available combat helicopter with a spectrum of capabilities for virtually any mission requirement. For the AH-64 E, this includes greater thrust and lift, joint digital operability, improved survivability and cognitive decision aiding," the Press Trust of India quoted Boeing as saying.

"It is uniquely suited to meet the commander's needs, including reconnaissance, security, peacekeeping operations, and lethal attack - in both land and littoral environments - all without reconfiguration," it said.


Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh was present at the occasion along with Air Force chief BS Dhanoa. The IAF passed a statement mentioning that these US-built Boeing AH-64E (I) Apaches are meant to progressively replace the IAF’s fleet of Russian Mi-35 choppers which are about to complete their service life. 

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