The Indian Air Force (IAF) will receive the first four of 22 Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters in August, according to Boeing sources.
The U.S.-made helicopter gunships are expected to arrive via US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft at Pathankot Air Force Station in Northern India, where they will be assembled, IHS Jane’s reported on April 11.
Previously, Boeing executives cited July as the initial delivery date. “We are ready to deliver the first of 22 Apache starting July. This will give significant combat capabilities [to the IAF], “David Koopersmith, Vice President and General Manager of Boeing’s Vertical Lift Division were quoted as saying by Indian media in February.
Boeing sources told IHS Jane’s that the remaining 18 AH-64Es will be delivered by the end of 2020.
India and the U.S. signed a $ 2.2 billion deal in 2015 for 22 AH-64Es and 15 CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters for the IAF. The sign of the contract was accompanied by a long-term inter-service rivalry between the IAF and the Indian Army’s Aviation Corps (AAC), which I explained in 2017:
For a number of years, The Indian Army has been engaged in a tug of war with the Indian Air Force over who will operate this future fleet of Apache gunships. The Army initially asked for the gunships to be inducted in its ranks, or for the air force to the helicopters with the ground forces. The Air Force, however, rejected both proposals
The AAC has now planned to operate three different AH-64E squadrons with a total of 39 helicopters. In February 2018, the AAC has begun a separate procurement track for its Apache AH-64Es. As I reported at the time, the AAC seeks an initial purchase of six AH-64Es under the Pentagon’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, overseen by the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency
The 2015 contract also includes a clause for a follow-on option of 11 additional Apaches and seven Chinooks for the IAF at a fixed price that was agreed on in 2013. Notably, Tata Boeing Aerospace Ltd (TBAL), a joint venture between Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems set up a facility to produce fuselages for the AH-64 Apache helicopter in Hyderabad in early 2018.