First Indian Army Apache Guardian unit raised

Gepubliceerd op 19 maart 2024 om 16:43

© Indian Army Aviation Corps

On 15 March 2024, the Indian Army established its inaugural Apache attack helicopter squadron at Nagtalao Army Base north of Jodhpur, Rajasthan. These attack helicopters, to be adorned in desert camouflage, will be operated by the 451st Army Aviation Squadron (AH). The unit is set to receive six Apache Guardian helicopters, with the initial batch scheduled to arrive in May.

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) approved the purchase of six Apaches for the Indian Army on 17 August 2017. At the time, analysts were surprised by the relatively small number. These six helicopters will be additional airframes, acquired under similar terms to the 22 Apaches contracted by the Bharatiya Vayu Sena (IAF, Indian Air Force) in September 2015.

The greater influx of Apache helicopters for India was outlined on Livefist in November 2016. The six Apaches sanctioned by the MoD’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) will be selected from the 11 airframe options as part of the 2015 IAF deal, which was secured at a locked 2009 price. If Boeing's projections materialize, the final count of airframes will be 33 for the IAF and 28 for the Indian Army, resulting in a combined fleet of 61 choppers. Indian company Tata manufactures Apache fuselages in Hyderabad.

The timeline for India's decision on additional orders remains uncertain. However, it is reasonably certain that the six Apaches approved for the Indian Army represent only the initial order in a series. Six helicopters barely constitute a flight, insufficient to justify the elaborate battlefield support requirements for which the Indian Army assumed command and control of armored helicopters from the IAF a few years ago.

Indian Air Force AH-64E "Guardian" for illustration (© Arjun Sarup)

Maak jouw eigen website met JouwWeb