The Indian Government yesterday cleared a $930 million deal for 6 Boeing AH-64E Apache helicopters for the Indian Army. The deal is likely to be announced by President Donald Trump when he arrives in India next week, with contract signature in March. The six Apaches will be purchased under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program of the U.S. Government, and are part of options on India’s earlier deal for 22 Apaches for the Indian Air Force, most of which have already been delivered.
The 6 Apaches for the Indian Army will be identical to the aircraft being supplied to the IAF. Livefist understands that three of the six will be Apache Longbows, the same ratio as the IAF’s fleet stationed in Pathankot as part of the Gladiators squadron. The original 2015 deal for 22 helicopters, valued at $1.4 billion including support equipment and infrastructure, was executed under the Direct Commercial Sales program, with elements of FMS for elements in the weapons package. A similar model is being followed for the next 6.
The six follow-on Apaches account for a partial exercising of options (11 airframes). As Livefist has detailed before, the Indian military is looking at adding more Apaches in the years ahead, with one estimate putting it at 61 airframes — 33 with the IAF and 28 with the Indian Army. Incidentally, the Indian Army and IAF are yet to fully resolve an acrimonious turf war over who controls attack helicopters. The 6 Apaches for the Indian Army will be the first attack helicopters in Indian Army colours since the turf war was tentatively ‘won’ a few years ago.
Boeing outsources the manufacture of its Apache fuselages to its Indian joint venture with the Tata Group, Tata Boeing Aerospace Ltd (TBAL), which rolled out the first fuselages in 2018. Every one of the six for the Army will be constructed around Hyderabad-built fuselages.
As of January, Boeing has delivered 17 of 22 Apaches to the Indian Air Force, with deliveries set to be completed in March this year.
UPDATE on Feb 25 / 4.30pm
As reported by Livefist, India and the United States today signed into contract this deal for 6 AH-64E Apache helicopters.
Boeing India President Salil Gupte said in a statement, “We welcome India’s decision to acquire six AH-64 Apache helicopters and lifecycle services support for the Indian Army. The AH-64E Apache will be a force multiplier for the Indian Army, just as it is today for the Indian Air Force. We congratulate the U.S. and Indian governments on this key milestone and welcome the positive momentum in the bilateral defense trade and industrial partnership. Through our local entity, Boeing Defence India, we are supporting the P-8I, C-17, CH-47 Chinook, and AH-64 Apache with holistic lifecycle support to assist with India’s defense modernization effort and mission-readiness at competitive costs. This new contract is a testimony to the trust and long standing partnership Boeing has nurtured over the years with our Indian customers and we are committed to delivering on our commitments in the future as well.”
Speaking at a CEOs roundtable at the US Embassy in Delhi, US President Donald Trump confirmed the developments, saying, “These deals will enhance our joint defence capabilities as our militaries continue to train and operate side-by-side.”
Deliveries of the Apaches to the Indian Army will commence in 2023. The FMS contract for the Apache includes munitions, training, aircraft certification, and components including engines, EO sensors and the radar. The direct commercial sale portion of the contract primarily consists of the aircraft (except the engines/sensors), logistic support, spares and services.