After the May 5 2020 standoff with China in eastern Ladakh, India fast tracked the delivery of the last batch of the US built Apache attack choppers. The last batch of 5 choppers arrived in India last month.
The government had exempted the Boeing contractors from the mandatory quarantine norms, notified in view of COVID-19. After the team assembled the five choppers, they were flown to the Pathankot air base. The attack choppers were also test flighted for deployment in Ladakh.
In 2019, India had inducted 17 of the 22 AH-64 Apache choppers ordered from Boeing. The choppers can engage 16 targets and also track 128 targets apart fro prioritising threats.
About the AH-64 Apache:
The Boeing AH-64 Apache is an American twin-turboshaft attack helicopter with a tailwheel type landing gear arrangement. It also has a tandem cockpit for a crew of two and features a nose mounted target acquisition and night vision systems.
Further, it is armed with a 30 mm M230 chain gun carried between the main landing gear under the aircraft's forward fuselage and four hard points mounted on the stub wing pylons for carrying armament and stores.
The IAF had signed a multi-billion dollar contract with the US government and Boeing Ltd in September 2015 for 22 Apache helicopters. The first four of the 22 helicopters was handed over to the air force by Boeing on July 27.
The delivery of the first batch of Apache helicopters to the IAF at the Hindon air base had come nearly four years after a multi-billion dollar deal for the choppers was sealed.
Additionally, the Defence Ministry in 2017 approved the procurement of six Apache helicopters along with weapons systems from Boeing at a cost of Rs 4,168 crore for the Army.
One revolutionary function of the Apache is its helmet mounted display, which its the integrated hamlet and display sighting systems. The pilot can salve the chopper's 30 mm M230 Chain Gun to their helmet. This makes the gun track head movements to point where they look.
The M230 can alternatively be fixed to a locked forward firing position, or controlled through the target acquisition and designation system.
The chopper was designed to perform in front-line environments and also to operate either at day or night. It can also operate in adverse weather conditions. The sensors and onboard avionics allows the Apache to perform in these conditions, These systems include the Target Acquisition and Designation System, Pilot Night Vision System (TADS/PNVS), passive infrared countermeasures, GPS, and the IHADSS.
The AH-64 is able to control unmanned aerial vehicles to perform scouting missions. The Apache can also request to take control of an RQ-7 Shadow or M1-IC Grey Eagle from the ground control stations to safety scout through data link communications.
Boeing had suggested that the chopper can be fired with a directed energy weapon. A small laser had been developed, initially to engage small UAVs. On the Apache, the laser can be used to destroy the enemy communications or radio equipment.
The chopper has been designed to attack things on the ground to help soldiers. It can carry 16 AGM Hellfire missiles along with rocket pods and a 30mm chain gun, which can fire 625 rounds per minute. It can carry up to 1,200 bullets and call carry missiles like the AIM-9 Sidewinder to shoot down things in the air in case it is attacked.
Apache top speed:
The AH-64 is 49.11 feet long, 17.16 feet wide, and 16.24 feet. Without anything, it weighs 5,352 kilograms. When full it weighs, 10,107 kilograms. It is power by General Electric
T700-GE-701C engines. It can go 261 kilometers per hour and can fly 1,900 kilometres without refuelling. It can fly at 9,478 feet and can clim 2,415 feet in a minute.