Versatility and Advanced Sensors: The Firepower New Apache Attack Copters Bring to Air Force
The new age copters are being inducted with the aim of providing an edge to the Air Force, which it needs to defend and attack in areas as challenging as Rajasthan and Kashmir.
The Apache helicopter.
The first batch of eight US made Apache AH-64E attack helicopters was inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) fleet in Pathankot on Tuesday, almost four years after India had placed the orders for 22 of them for a total of $1.4 billion.
The state-of-the-art stealth attack helicopters were given the customary 'water cannon' salute at Air Force's Pathankot base.
The new age copters are being inducted with the aim of providing an edge to the Air Force, which it needs to defend and attack in areas as challenging as Rajasthan and Kashmir. Impressed by the copters, Air Force chief BS Dhanoa at the launch event said, "It is one of the most fierce attack helicopters in the world. It is capable of performing many missions. Today with the induction of Apache AH-64E, the Indian Air Force has upgraded its inventory to the latest generation of attack helicopters."
News18 lists three distinct advantages that the Apache choppers bring to the Indian Air Force
These helicopters come ready with 'Hellfire' missiles and rockets. Each Apache has the capacity to carry eight such 'Hellfire' missiles. It also has a canon gun that can fire 1,200 rounds at a time, with which two missile pods carrying 19 missiles each can be fixed. These copters are being brought in to replace the ageing Russian Mi-35 choppers which have so far been India's the frontline assault chopper force.
The choppers with their anti-armour missiles are meant to take out tanks and hardened targets in the Rajasthan desert as well as having enough thrust and lift to remain equally active in high altitude areas. The choppers are lethal in the day as well as night. Apaches are also fitted with air-to-air Stinger missiles, which the IAF had specifically sought. Together with the avionics on board, these missiles can identify, track and hunt targets in the dead of night.
The Apache choppers are equipped with advanced sensors to enable them to detect and engage their targets while flying very low and at high speeds to evade detection by enemy forces. They can also transmit and receive battlefield pictures to and from the weapon systems through data networking. Equipped with an AN/APG-78 Longbow fire control radar system, the Apache has a deadly reputation for being able to sneak up on targets, carry out devastating precision attacks at stand-off ranges and to operate in hostile airspace with threats from the ground.
An official of Boeing, which makes these helicopters, was quoted by PTI as saying, "It is the only available combat helicopter with a spectrum of capabilities for virtually any mission requirement. For the AH-64 E, this includes greater thrust and lift, joint digital operability, improved survivability and cognitive decision aiding."
"It is uniquely suited to meet the commander's needs, including reconnaissance, security, peacekeeping operations, and lethal attack - in both land and littoral environments - all without reconfiguration," the statement further added.
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