- Defence ministry has cleared the acquisition of six Apache attack helicopters for the Army at a cost of Rs 4,168 crore.
- Army had sought government’s approval for acquisition of 11 Apache helicopters from the US
The Army will finally get its own heavy-duty attack helicopters after a bitter tussle with the IAF over the last several years. The defence ministry on Thursday cleared the acquisition of six Apache attack helicopters, armed with Hellfire and Stinger missiles, for the Army at a cost of Rs 4,168 crore.
The 1.3-million strong Army had earlier sought the government’s approval for acquisition of 11 Apache helicopters from the US as “a follow-on contract” to the Rs 13,952 crore deal inked for 22 such choppers for the IAF in September 2015, as was reported by TOI.<br/>+
But after stiff opposition from the IAF, the Arun Jaitley-led defence acquisitions council (DAC) on Thursday cleared the Army’s whittled down proposal for the six AH-64E Apache helicopters, which are manufactured by Boeing.
The DAC also approved the Rs 490 crore purchase of Zorya gas-turbine engine sets from Ukraine for two of the Grigorivich-class frigates being built in Russia. During the Modi-Putin summit in Goa last year, India had agreed to purchase four 4,000-tonne Grigorivich-class guided-missile stealth frigates at cost of $4 billion from Russia.
While two of these frigates are lying half-constructed at the Russian Yantar Shipyard due to a cash-crunch and bilateral problems between Russia and Ukraine, the other two will be built in the Goa Shipyard in India. India will now acquire the Zorya gas-turbine engines from Ukraine and then ship them to Russia for the first two frigates.
As earlier reported by TOI,+ the deal for the frigates is also linked to India’s quest to lease a second nuclear-powered submarine (the first INS Chakra came in 2012) for around $1.5 billion from Russia.
As for the Apaches, the Army for long has been pushing for three squadrons of attack helicopters, among other choppers, for its three primary “strike” corps geared for rapid armoured thrusts into enemy territory.