Boe­ing’s Apache will be IAF’S new at­tack copter

SP's MAI - - SP’S EXCLUSIVES -

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.

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