Published: Fri, August 18, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

India clears purchase of six Boeing helicopters in $650 million deal

India clears purchase of six Boeing helicopters in $650 million deal

The Narendra Modi Government has approved purchase of six more attack helicopters to be procured for the Indian Army as a follow on to the existing order of 22 "AH-64-E Apache" copters from US-based giant Boeing.

This will enable the army to operate its own attack helicopters for the first time. The IAF also maintained that two Services flying helicopters will duplicate the effort of maintenance.

The deal is believed to be for 6 Apache choppers - the likes of which are often used in combat by the USA armed forces themselves - and will set India back by around Rs 4,168 crore, now that the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has given its nod to the deal.

Sources in army headquarters said the AH-64 Apache, used in the Gulf War and Afghanistan, is one of the world's most advanced multi-role combat helicopters, equipped with advanced weapons systems and night fighting features.

The army has its sights set on the Light Combat helicopter (LCH) being built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as well.

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In 2015, India had signed a almost United States dollars 3 billion deal for purchase of 22 Apache attack helicopters and 15 Chinook heavy-lift choppers with American aviation giant Boeing and the U.S. government.

The Apache helicopters, according to security experts, would provide the Indian forces with an edge in the battlefield.

In March, the company signed a $3.4 billion contract with the U.S. government for 268 Apaches. It had even requested the IAF to loan some of its own Apache choppers, which the Air Force had turned down.

The DAC meeting on Thursday also gave the green signal to a proposal for procuring two gas turbine engines from Ukraine for the two frigates for the Indian Navy now under construction in Russian Federation.

Jaitley took stock of several other procurement proposals too at today's meeting, ministry sources said. The deal for the turbines is worth Rs 490 crore.

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