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Indian Army Inducts First Apache 451 Aviation Squadron

First Apache Squadron Raised

The Indian Army has raised its first squadron, the 451 Aviation Squadron, to operate the newly acquired AH-64E Apache attack helicopters. The squadron was formally established on March 15 at Jodhpur.

Induction Timeline

  • The Army will receive the first batch of three Apache helicopters in May 2023.
  • Another three Apaches will be inducted in July 2023.

Apache Deal with Boeing

  • In February 2020, India signed a deal worth around $800 million with Boeing for six Apache helicopters for the Indian Army.
  • As part of the deal, six pilots and 24 technicians from the Indian Army were trained by Boeing in the U.S.

Army’s First Dedicated Attack Helicopters

  • The Indian Army Aviation Corps has so far operated only utility helicopters.
  • With the induction of Apaches and the indigenous Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), the Army is getting its first dedicated attack helicopters.
  • The first LCH squadron, 351 Army Aviation, was deployed in Missamari, Assam, near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in November 2022.

More Procurement Planned

  • The Indian government had earlier approved the procurement of 39 AH-64 Apache helicopters from the U.S., with 22 going to the Indian Air Force.
  • The Army is pushing for the acquisition of 11 more Apache helicopters.
  • The Defence Acquisition Council has also approved the procurement of 156 LCH – 90 for the Army and 66 for the Air Force.

Army’s Attack Helicopter Fleet

  • Apart from the Apaches and LCH, the Indian Army operates 75 Rudra helicopters, which are the armed version of the Advanced Light Helicopter.

The induction of these modern attack helicopters is expected to significantly enhance the Indian Army’s air assault and offensive capabilities.

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