The Indian Air Force (IAF) was formally handed over its first AH-64E (I)-Apache Guardian helicopter at the Boeing production facility in Mesa, Arizona, USA. The first batch of about four-six Apache helicopters will be delivered to India in July 2019.
1. The AH-64E Apache is flown by the US Army and is one of the leading multi-role attack helicopters globally. It is even dubbed as the “flying tank”.
2. It is armed with Hellfire Longbow air-to-ground missiles, Stinger air-to-air missiles, guns, and rockets.
3. It is widely acknowledged as the world’s most lethal combat helicopter.
4. It has advanced Longbow radar which can pick up enemy armored vehicles and can then destroy them with air-to-surface rockets or anti-tank missiles or a chain gun that sends about 625 rounds per minute tearing into targets.
5. It has flown about a million mission hours in various conflicts, like from fighting in First Gulf War (in 1991) to ongoing fighting in Afghanistan.
6. It can be operated both by day and also by night with equal effectiveness. It can fly just meters above the ground and shelter behind trees and sand dunes.
7. It has improved survivability, joint digital operability, and cognitive decision-aiding.
In September 2015, India and US signed a deal worth $3 billion (at current prices) for inducting 22 Apaches Helicopters in Indian Air Force (IAF) by March 2020. The IAF has bought the latest version of the Apache, called as the AH-64E (I) Apache Guardian.