The first Indian Air Force AH-64E(I) at the hand-over ceremony yesterday in Mesa, Arizona. IAF
A FORMAL ceremony was held at the Boeing production facility in Mesa, Arizona, yesterday, May 10, to hand-over the first Indian Air Force (IAF) AH-64E(I) Apache Guardian attack helicopter. Air Marshal AS Butola represented the Indian Air Force and accepted the first Apache at the ceremony, while representatives from US Government were also present. The helicopter was still wearing US test registration N4801A (also allocated FMS serial 15-4801) but is believed to be allocated IAF serial ZV4801. It had made its maiden flight at Mesa on July 16 last year.
The IAF had signed a contract with the US Government and Boeing in September 2015 for 22 Apache helicopters. The first batch of these helicopters is scheduled to be shipped to India by July this year. Nine will be delivered by the end of this year and the remaining 13 in 2020. Selected aircrew and ground crew have undergone training at the training facilities at US Army base Fort Rucker, Alabama. These personnel will lead the operationalisation of the Apache fleet in the IAF.
The IAF says that addition of AH-64 E (I) helicopter is a significant step towards modernisation of the Indian Air Force’s helicopter fleet. The helicopter has been customized to suit IAF’s future requirements and will have significant capability in mountainous terrain.