Home

April 2, 2013

IAF, not Army, will get Apache attack helicopters: Govt

The defence ministry has rejected the Army's case for "ownership" of the 22 heavy-duty Apache helicopters, armed with deadly Hellfire and Stinger missiles, which India is all set to acquire from the US in a $1.4 billion contract.

The MoD, citing defence minister A K Antony's approval, has held the 22 AH-64D Apache Longbow gunships will "remain" with the IAF because the procurement deal was an "ongoing" one, which did not fall into category of "future" acquisitions, said officials.

The Army has been eyeing the Apache helicopters, that earlier defeated Russian Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant's Mi-28 Havoc choppers in the field trials conducted by IAF, for which the final commercial negotiations are now underway between MoD and Boeing.

Antony last year was compelled to step into the bitter turf war raging between Army and IAF for years, which publically erupted even during the 1999 Kargil conflict, over the ownership of attack helicopters.

The minister had then decided that "future" procurements of attack helicopters would be for the Army since the force contended it desperately needed the gunships to target enemy infantry and tanks on the ground.

But IAF argued it should be allowed to retain all the attack and medium-lift helicopters because it would be "very expensive" if the Army duplicated efforts and resources by getting its own "little air force". The "command and control" over IAF's two existing squadrons of Mi-25/35 attack helicopters was in any case in the hands of Army.

After MoD said the Army would also get its own attack helicopters to resolve the imbroglio, the force had laid claim to the "ownership" of the 22 Apache helicopters as well. "But the procurement process for the 22 Apache helicopters began much before the decision about giving Army ownership of future such inductions was taken," said a MoD official.

An undeterred Army, however, chalked out plans to have its own "mini" air force in the years ahead. Apart from creating a permanent cadre for the Army Aviation Corps, the force is raising "aviation brigades" for each of its three "strike" and 10 "pivot" corps.

The Army currently operates 195 Chetak/Chetak light observation helicopters as well as 70 Dhruv advanced light helicopters. Its long-term plans include three helicopter squadrons (10-12 choppers each) — armed or attack, reconnaissance and tactical lift — each for all its 13 corps as well as "a flight" of five fixed-wing aircraft each for its six regional or operational commands


Times of india

1 comment:

  1. 22 apache choppers deployment for india airforce to serve the NE borders against China is a joke.india shud go for JV with Boeing to produce these beast for 250/400 such helicopters

    ReplyDelete