On the Apache, the variant on offer to the IAF is the Block-III. The specimen fielded for three-week trials was a modified Block II with a great deal of Block III parts, including composite rotor, fuel tanks etc. The platform had the performance of a Block III, says Boeing, but without the avionics (the Boeing folks say the only spare they needed to use over those three weeks was an adhesive bond-on trim tab for the composite rotor). Boeing hasn’t received word on how many Longbows the IAF is interested in (one in three US Army Apaches is a Longbow).
Am at Long Beach, California now. Tomorrow is the ‘major join’ ceremony of India’s first C-17 where the forward, aft and fuselage sections will come together along with the wing assemblies. Stay tuned for photos and updates on the C-17 programme — the largest Indo-US defence contract so far.
Photos / Shiv Aroor