Eight defence contracts from India worth approximately 10 billion dollars have been signed with American companies in the last decade; including the P-81 maritime surveillance planes, C-130J ‘Super Hercules’ and C-17 Globemaster-III. American presence in the Indian defence industry was further bolstered when the NDA Government signed its biggest defense deal yet, with American aviation giant Boeing.
The 2.5 billion dollars contract for 22 Apache attack and 15 heavy lift Chinook helicopters had been pending since 2013 and was finally concluded on the eve of PM Modi’s visit to US. The Chinooks will be acquired under a DSC contract but the Apache helicopters will be acquired under a two part deal: a DCS (Direct Commercial Sale) contract for the helicopters with Boeing and a FMS (Foreign Military Sales) agreement for the weapons, radars and electronic warfare equipment with the US government. The contract is also believed to have a clause for follow-on orders for 11 more Apaches and four more Chinooks.
The Apache helicopters shall substitute the Mi-35 attack helicopters of the IAF and will be armed with hellfire missiles. Also armed with stealth characteristics, state of the art sensors, beyond visual range missiles, features for fighting at night and in all weathers; and an ability to track up to 128 targets and engage with 16 targets in less than a minute; the Apache AH 64D Longbow helicopters are one of the most advanced multi-role combat helicopters today.
The Chinooks shall be replacing the IAF Mi-36 fleet for lifting heavy military equipment, including special artillery guns and supplies, to inhospitable areas of the North and the North-East.
The first helicopter may be delivered by three years and the whole set will most likely arrive within five years.