SHILLONG, May 11 - A squadron of the Apache Guardian helicopter, which was formally handed over to the Indian Air Force (IAF), would likely be stationed in the North East under the Eastern Air Command (EAC.) One AH-64E (I) Apache Guardian helicopter was handed over to the IAF at the Boeing production facility in Mesa, Arizona, USA on Friday.
Air Marshal AS Butola, represented the IAF and accepted the first Apache helicopter in a ceremony at Boeing production facility. Representatives from US Government were also present, officials at the EAC said.
�One squadron of these Apache Guardian helicopters is likely to be stationed in the Northeastern sector under the EAC,� Defence Public Relations Officer, Wing Commander, Ratnakar Singh said here today.
The IAF had signed a contract with the US Government and M/s Boeing Ltd in September 2015 for 22 Apache helicopters. The first batch of these helicopters is scheduled to be shipped to India by July this year.
�Selected air 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,� Singh added.
The addition of AH-64 E (I) helicopter is a significant step towards modernisation of Indian Air Force�s helicopter fleet. The helicopter has been customised to suit IAF�s future requirements and would have significant capability in mountainous terrain, an IAF statement said.
It added 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. �These attack helicopters will provide significant edge in any future joint operations in support of land forces,� the Defence PRO said.