The Indian Army will get to operate its own attack helicopters soon as the Centre on Thursday cleared the purchase of six Boeing Co Apache choppers. The Defence Acquisition Council approved the $654.6-million (around Rs 4,200 crore) deal, a Defence Ministry official said, according to Reuters.

Besides the six helicopters, the contract with Boeing includes related equipment, spares, training, weapons and ammunition, as well. In 2015, India had ordered 22 Apache and Chinook helicopters from Boeing.

The Apaches will be deployed on the Western Front to support the Army’s tank formations – a role that was earlier given to Indian Air Force helicopters. The first of the lot are expected to be brought into service in 2021, NDTV reported.

The council, headed by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, also approved an order worth around Rs 490 crore for gas turbine engines for two ships that are currently under construction in Russia, the unidentified official said.