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India to buy 22 attack, 15 heavy-lift copters

Amrita Nair Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on January 28, 2015

Valued at $2.5 b; will provide the IAF with enhanced dominant force projection capabilities

As part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to bolster the nation’s military posture, India is to acquire 22 Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and 15 CH-47F Chinook heavy lift helicopters for the Indian Air Force (IAF), valued at $2.5 billion.

Approval stage

Officials in the know said the attack helicopter (Apache) and the heavy lift helicopter (Chinook) are currently in the Government approval stage.

“The Ministry of Finance and Cabinet Committee on Security needs to approve...before contracts are signed. All other steps are done,” officials said.

Sources pointed out that India’s defence acquisition process mandates that all contracts that are in excess of $50 million require 30% offsets. Way back in 2013, Boeing had signed a memorandum of understanding with Dynamatic Technologies of Bangalore, to manufacture the aft pylon and cargo ramp assemblies for the Chinook. Sources indicated that Boeing had done this in anticipation of the IAF order. When contacted, Boeing said it was deferring all questions on the Apache procurement to India’s Ministry of Defence for comment.

Offsets galore

“Defence spending eligible for offsets through 2017 are huge. Based on the current order pipeline, big procurement programmes ensure that offset obligations could become an opportunity worth $10-$20 billion for the domestic industry,” said sources.

Another official pointed out that offsets are expected to spur growth, as well as aid the basic intent of the offset policy, which is to build a domestic defence manufacturing base.

Force projection

“Multinational original equipment manufacturers with Indian defence contracts can discharge their offset obligations by sourcing military grade components from India,” the official added.

Boeing’s Apache is the most capable multi-role combat helicopter, “combining performance and lethality with more affordable and efficient maintenance.

“It will provide the Indian Air Force with enhanced dominant force projection capabilities, and will address the full spectrum of conflict to peace keeping and nation building.”

Newest member

India has been offered the AH-64E, the newest member of the combat proven Apache family, and is to get the latest upgraded version of the helicopter, which has been delivered only to the US Army. In the case of Boeing’s Chinook helicopter, “the tandem rotor H-47 Chinook is the most capable, advanced heavy lift helicopter, providing maximum value at the lowest risk.

The H-47 Chinook offers India heavy lift and high altitude transportation for a multitude of military, humanitarian, rescue, disaster relief, fire fighting and nation building missions in all climates and conditions and altitudes.”

Flight trials

The Chinook and an advanced version of the Mi-26 helicopter were put to flight trials in 2011, in desert and high altitude terrain. Boeing’s Chinook had beaten out Russia’s Mi-26, when the Indian Defence Ministry had opened bids in November 2012, said sources, adding that the Russian bid was set aside after officials failed to provide details on how they would execute their offset liabilities.

Boeing is deferring questions on the contract to India’s Ministry of Defence.

Published on January 28, 2015
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