Boeing’s Apache will be IAF’S new attack copter
Boeing’s AH-64D Apache Block III has officially been declared to be the winner in the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) attack helicopter competition. The Ministry of Defence will shortly begin contract negotiations with the Pentagon for a government-to-government contract. The Apache programme is administered by the US Army.
The Apache met performance requirements during field evaluation trials last year, winning out over the Russian Mi-28NE. A final contract, which is likely to be signed by early next year, is expected to be worth about $1.4 billion. The IAF is understood to be deciding on a mix of AH-64D Apaches with and without the Longbow system. One in six Apaches in the US Army service is armed with the Longbow system. The Apaches in IAF service, unlike the Mi-35 fleet, will be under the command and control of the IAF itself and not the Army. The Army, currently embroiled in a turf battle with the IAF over the use of anti-armour helicopters and other tactical battlefield assets, could initiate an effort to procure its own armed helicopters, though a global tender may not be the route.