Apache Helicopters Give Army More Firepower

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New Delhi: Apache 64-A is a four-blade, twin-turboshaft helicopter with a nose-mounted sensor suite that makes target acquisition simpler.The laser, infrared, and other systems makes the helicopter capable of locating, tracking, and attacking targets. It also has a combination of laser-guided precision Hellfire missiles, 70mm rockets, and a 30mm automatic cannon with up to 1,200 high-explosive, dual-purpose ammunition rounds.

The attack helicopter has a maximum cruise speed of 284 km per hour. With a height of 15.24 ft and wing span of 17.15 ft, the helicopter has a flight speed of more than 150 knots. This implies that the helicopter can travel up to 279 kilometers per hour. The air-to-air missiles fitted in the chopper give it an edge over the other enemy helicopters. It also has a major systems redundancy to improve combat survivability. The AH-64E Apache has the ability to control unmanned aerial vehicles. The self-sealing fuel system in the chopper protects it against the loss of fuel, making it handy in case of a war. According to its maker Boeing, the AH 64 is capable of classifying and prioritizing of up to 128 targets in less than 60 seconds.

Although the Army Aviation Corps was created, attack helicopters didn’t come easily to the Army. A bitter and long drawn tussle ensued with the Indian Air Force over control of the Apache attack helicopters, which are to replace the ageing Mi-35s of the IAF. In September 2015, the Cabinet Committee on Security approved the purchase of Boeing’s 22 Apaches for the IAF.

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The Centre then had said that the Army will also acquire these helicopters under a follow on order, but the procurement was being delayed. Finally, on Thursday, the Defence Acquisition Council cleared the Rs 4,168 crore procurement deal for six Apaches for the Army.