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India and the US Sign $3 Billion Deal for New Attack Helicopters

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Asia Defense

India and the US Sign $3 Billion Deal for New Attack Helicopters

The recently signed contract also includes a new fleet of transport aircraft.

India and the US Sign $3 Billion Deal for New Attack Helicopters
Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Andy Dunaway

This week, Indian and U.S. official signed contracts for the procurement of 22 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and 15 CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters in a deal estimated to be worth $3 billion the Business Standard reports.

The spokesperson of the Indian Defense Ministry, Sitanshu Kar, tweeted from his account this Monday: “Contracts for purchase of 15 #Chinook and 22 #Apache Helicopters signed.”

India’s Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS), a government body headed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and responsible for military procurements, approved the purchase in the previous week, after more than ten (some sources say 13) American price validity extensions, which stipulate that the American defense contractor Boeing would sell the military hardware at the price agreed upon in 2013.

Final approval of the purchase had been stalled since that time due to differences over U.S. offset obligations – under India’s Defense Procurement Procedure (DPP) any foreign company has to invest part of the total purchasing price back into the country. The current contract will have a 30 percent offset clause, according to local media reports.

This could indicate that parts of the helicopters will be built in India, although the contract stipulates that the aircraft will be delivered in fly-away condition. The Bangalore-based Dynamatics Technologies Limited company is already building portions of the Chinook in India including the helicopter’s cargo ramp under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” initiative.

According to the Business Standard, two of the contracts signed this Monday were for the “direct commercial sale” of the entire fleet of CH-47F Chinook helicopters and the 22 AH-64E Apache helicopters without the engines, as well as logistical support including spare parts and maintenance equipment.

The procurement of the weapon systems of the Apache attack helicopter – including 812 AGM-114L-3 Hellfire Longbow missiles, 542 AGM-114R-3 Hellfire-II missiles, 245 Stinger Block I-92H missiles – as well as the aircraft’s radar equipment (e.g., the AN/APG-78 fire-control radar) was signed under a separate “foreign military sale” agreement. “The FMS [foreign military sale] portion of the sale includes munitions, training, aircraft certification, and components like engines, electro-optical sensors and the radar,” the Business Standard additionally notes.

The contract also includes a clause for a follow-on order of 11 extra Apaches and seven Chinooks. Delivery of the aircraft is slated to be completed over the next three years.

After holding extensive field trials, the Indian Air Force opted for the Apache gunship and the Chinook helicopter– first flown during the Vietnam War – already six years ago. (Both U.S. aircraft outperformed their Russian rivals, the Mi-28 Havoc and Mi-26.) India’s Air Force had been badly looking to replace its aging fleet of 15 Russian-made Mi-35 attack helicopters with a new attack helicopter. The Chinooks are set to replace the Indian military’s four Mi-26 heavy-lift helicopters, only two of two of which are still operational.