The Indian Air Force on Tuesday inducted eight United States-made Apache AH-64E attack helicopters at the Pathankot airbase. This will reportedly give a major boost to India’s combat capabilities.

AH-64E helicopters are made by Boeing Co. The helicopters have been customised to suit the future requirements of Indian Air Force and would have significant capability in mountainous terrain.

Boeing formally handed over the aircraft keys to Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa at the function in Pathankot Air Force Station. “The IAF has been flying helicopters since 1954,” Dhanoa was quoted as saying by IANS. “Since then there has been no looking back. We have proved our mettle in various missions. We have operated various types of helicopters in the past.”

The eight helicopters were brought to India in two separate batches. They were first delivered at the Hindon Air Base in Ghaziabad over July and August in two equal batches of four choppers each.

“Apache helicopter is an advanced multi-mission helicopter being operated worldwide by the US, UK, Israel and many numbers of countries,” the air force chief added. “The helicopter has proved itself as an operational success across the world. It is one of the most fierce attack helicopters in the world.”

The Air Force had signed a contract for 22 Apache helicopters from the United States government and Boeing in September 2015. The first four of the 22 helicopters were handed over by Boeing on July 27.

The AH-64E Apache for the Indian Air Force completed successful first flights in July 2018. The first batch of IAF crew began their training to fly the Apache in the United States last year.

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