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IAF selects Boeing’s Apache Longbow combat helicopter

 

 
 
By Special Representative Published: October 2011
 
 
 
   

New Delhi. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has selected US Boeing’s Apache Longbow advanced attack helicopter .

 

Official sources told India Strategic that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had accepted IAF's trial report evaluating the Boeing AH 64D Apache and Russian Rosoboronexport’s Mi 28N Night Hunter but did not say which was the winning machine.

But RIA Novosti news agency reported from Moscow that the Mi-28N had lost the competition, and quoted an Indian source as saying that the US helicopter “showed better performance” while the Mi 28N did not meet the requirements.

IAF Chief, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, told India Strategic that IAF had submitted technical evaluation reports for both the combat and heavy lift helicopters and that he expected the results to be announced within 2011. The winning vendor in each case would be invited for final negotiations and contract.

IAF has a tender for 22 combat helicopters and 15 heavy lift machines with no options. But more could be ordered later.

According to noted expert Lt Gen B S Pawar (Retd), Apache is far more advanced than other attack helicopter worldwide, and the only one which has proven itself in combat beginning with the 1991 US-Iraq Gulf war. It has been executing successful missions in Afghanistan irrespective of the terrain.

Apache was displayed at the Dubai Airshow for the first time in 1991, after its highly successful attacks on Iraqi armour during the war over the liberation of Kuwait. It has been used in Iraq again, and is now operating 24x7 missions in Afghanistan.

Mi 28N, delivered to the Russian forces in 2006, has hardly seen any action.

Notably, the US is known to have much better Electronic Warfare capability than perhaps any other nation. The Apache can detect 256 moving targets in speed, distance and direction and engage them as required.

The twin-engine tandem seat Apache is operated by two pilots, and can execute an attack within 30 seconds of an alert. It is equipped with Northrop Grumman’s highly sophisticated millimeter wave Longbow fire control radar and Lockheed Martin’s Hellfire and Raytheon’s Stinger missiles. The Block III is the latest version being delivered to the US Army from this year. Apache has a strong shell made of composite fibres to protect the pilots from bullets.

 
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