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Context: First fuselage for Indian Army’s six AH-64E Apache attack helicopter contract rolls out of Tata Advanced Systems Limited and aircraft manufacturer Boeing.
- The first fuselage for the Indian Army’s contract for six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters has rolled out of the Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited (TBAL) facility in Hyderabad, the Joint Venture between Tata Advanced Systems Limited and aircraft manufacturer Boeing.
- The first Apache is scheduled to be delivered to the Army in February 2024 and training of Army Aviation pilots and technicians has commenced in the U.S. last December, according to a defence official.
- TBAL’s 14,000 sq.m. facility is the sole source supplier for Apache fuselages globally, and also produces complex aero-structures for Boeing 737 and 777 models
- The Cabinet Committee had given its sanction for the procurement of 39 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters from the U.S.
- Following this, the Indian Air Force had procured 22 Apaches under a deal signed in September 2015, following which the government decided that any further Apache procurements would go to the Army.
- In line with this, India signed a deal for six more Apaches, for the Army, at a cost of around $800 million in February 2020. There has been a slight delay in the deliveries of the Apaches due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- It comes equipped with laser and infrared systems for day-night operations and armed with air to surface Hellfire missiles, 70 mm rockets and an automatic cannon.
- The helicopter has the capability to carry out precision attacks at standoff ranges and operate in hostile airspace with threats from ground.
- The ability of these helicopters, to transmit and receive the battlefield picture, to and from the weapon systems through data networking makes it a lethal acquisition.