The first four of 22 Boeing 'AH-64E (I)' Apache Guardian attack helicopters ordered for the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2015 for USD2.02 billion arrived at the Hindon Air Force Station (AFS) outside New Delhi on 27 July: a few weeks ahead of schedule.
IAF officials said that the four twin-engined platforms, which were flown to India aboard an Antonov An-124 'Condor' strategic airlifter, will be joined by an equal number of Apache Guardians that will be similarly delivered by 3 August.
Thereafter, Boeing technicians will assemble all eight helicopters at Hindon (AFS) before ferrying them to the Pathankot AFS, which is located close to India's border with Pakistan, and hand them over to the IAF for formal induction into service.
In this regard Boeing officials in New Delhi stated that the delivery plans were slightly revised as the rotorcraft were initially expected to be flown directly to Pathankot AFS by a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft.
Delivery of the remaining 14 Apaches, which will supplement and eventually replace the IAF's 20-odd upgraded Mil Mi-25 and Mil Mi-35 combat helicopters, will be completed by 2020, said the officials.
Senior IAF officers have said that an Apache squadron, comprising 10 helicopters, will be stationed at Pathankot near the border with Pakistan, while a second one will be based in northeastern India near the country's disputed border with China.
The remaining two Apaches would be held as reserves in the event of accidents or combat losses, they added.
India had ordered the Apaches in a deal that combined a Direct Commercial Sale (DCS) with Boeing and a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreement with the US government.
The DCS part of the procurement includes the platforms, without engines and sensors, logistical support, spares, and after sales service.
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