Washington, June 13: The United States on Tuesday approved to sell six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters worth USD 930 million or around Rs 62 billion to India.
Notably, the United States government has cleared the deck for New Delhi to purchase six Apache AH-64E choppers which will give a major boost in defence sector of India as it is emerging as the world power. The agreement has been passed to the US Congress for approval and if no US lawmaker raises an objection, the contract will go ahead.
In addition to aircraft, the agreement includes night vision sensors, GPS guidance and hundreds of Hellfire anti-armour and Stinger air-to-air missiles. The sale also includes 180 AGM-114 L-3 Hellfire Longbow air-to-surface anti-armor missiles, 90 AGM-114 R-3 Hellfire II air-to-surface missiles, 200 Stinger air-to-air missiles, rockets; 30 mm cannons and ammunition. It also includes simulators, communication equipment, spare and repair parts, training, engineering and other support.
The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency in a statement said, "This support for the AH-64E will provide an increase in India's defensive capability to counter ground-armoured threats and modernize its armed forces.” "India will have no difficulty absorbing the helicopters and support equipment into its armed forces. The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region," it added.
The lead contractors are US arms, aviation and engineering giants Lockheed Martin, General Electric and Raytheon. Boeing and Indian partner Tata have begun to produce Apache fuselages at a plant in India, but yesterday’s approval will lead to a direct sale of finished products from the US manufacturers.
In August last year, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by the then Defence Minister Arun Jaitley cleared the purchase of six Apache AH-64E multi-role attack helicopters. The new agreement was in addition to the 2015 decision to buy 22 Apaches and 15 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters worth $3 billion for the Indian Air Force under a government-to-government deal with the US.
The 'AH-64-E' Apache choppers are known as one of the most advanced multi-role combat helicopters which have advanced weapons systems and night-fighting features. Apaches have been used in conflicts in the Gulf, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.