American defence major Boeing has carried out the first flights of the Apache and Chinook military helicopters and delivery to the Indian Air Force will commence next year, officials said on Friday.
India is procuring 22 AH-64E Apache attack choppers and 15 CH-47F(I) Chinook heavy-lift helicopters from Boeing.
“First flight of India’s Apache and Chinook helicopters are important milestones towards strengthening Indian armed forces capabilities,” Boeing India President Pratyush Kumar said in a statement.
Officials added that the delivery of the military helicopters are likely to begin next year.
According to Kumar, India will receive the most advanced versions of both the AH-64E Apache and the CH-47F Chinook helicopters.
“Indian industry partners such as Dynamatics are building large sections of Chinook, and the Tata Boeing joint venture in Hyderabad is building the complete fuselage of the Apache,” he said in a statement.
The government had finalised the contract for IAF’s 22 Apaches and 15 Chinooks in September 2015.
Additionally, the defence ministry last year approved the procurement of six Apache helicopters along with weapons systems from Boeing at a cost of Rs 4,168 crore for the Army. This will be its first fleet of attack choppers.
Fuselages for this Army order will be produced by Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited, a joint venture between Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems in Hyderabad.
The AH-64E Apache is a leading multi-role attack helicopter and is flown by the US Army.
Its latest features include joint digital operability, improved survivability and cognitive decision aiding, said a Boeing official.
The Chinook is a multi-role, vertical-lift platform, which is used for transport of troops, artillery, equipment and fuel.
It is also used for humanitarian and disaster-relief operations, in missions such as transportation of relief supplies and mass evacuation of refugees.