High Hopes

Boe­ing looks for­ward to get its next big con­tract from In­dia, for 22 AH-64D Apache at­tack he­li­copter deal

SP's MAI - - SP’S EXCLUSIVES - [By SP’S Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent in Mesa, Ari­zona, USA]

Boe­ing waits in the prover­bial wings for what it hopes will be its next big con­tract from the In­dian mil­i­tary—a lu­cra­tive deal for 22 new AH-64D Apache at­tack he­li­copters, all from the lat­est Block III and at least some of them armed with the for­mi­da­ble Northrop Grum­man/Lock­heed Martin AN/APG78 Long­bow fire con­trol radar (one in three US Army AH-64Ds come armed with the sen­sor).

At this stage, if the In­dian Air Force (IAF) in­deed has plans to award the con- tract to Boe­ing, it is un­clear as to how many of the plat­forms will come with the Long­bow radar. Tri­als con­ducted in In­dia in­volved an AH-64D Block II with Block III com­po­nents, in­clud­ing gear­box, fuel tanks, composite ro­tors, etc, in ef­fect, a Block III but with­out the at­ten­dant avion­ics. There are also con­cerns about whether the fra­cas be­tween the In­dian Army and the IAF over the use of armed he­li­copters has any­thing to do with the process slow­ing down, or a de­ci­sion be­ing de­ferred.

Sources in­di­cate that the pro­cure­ment is on course and a win­ner is likely to be an­nounced be­fore the year is out.

A brand new AH-64D Apache Block III fresh off Boe­ing’s pro­duc­tion line in Mesa, Ari­zona

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