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Strengthening Indian Air Force

1. Eight Apache AH-64E (I) helicopters have been recently inducted into the IAF at the Pathankot airbase.

2. The ‘I’ in the AH-64E (I) stands for India specific requirements.

3. India is the 16th nation to select the Apache and now has the most advanced variant.

Why is this significant for India?

1. Till recently, the Indian Air Force was dependent on the Mi Series, Mi 25 & Mi 35 acquired from the former Soviet Union.

2. These Mi series helicopters have gone through their operational cycle.

3. It is a modern attack helicopter and makes armed helicopter distinguishable from the attack helicopter.

4. The induction of these helicopters enhances the multi-mission capability of the Indian Air Force.

How is an attack helicopter different from an armed helicopter?

1. Level of ordnance in an attack helicopter is of a much higher order than an armed helicopter.

2. Apache has a digital enabling provision meaning that it can be used in the network-centric model.

3. Such facilities for surveillance are not yet provided in an armed helicopter.

4. Capability of an armed helicopter and its size, speed, traction, maneuverability, etc. is of a slightly lower order than an attack helicopter.

What are the major features of Apache Helicopters?

1. Climb rate of the helicopter is 6000 feet per minute, an extraordinary acceleration rate.

2. It has the ability to track multiple targets, enables and detects the targets, choose the ordnance and attack within a fraction of seconds.

3. It has the capability to shoot fire and forget anti-tank guided missiles, air to air missiles, rockets and other ammunition.

4. It has sensors for target acquisition and night vision systems.

5. Its cockpit is bulletproof, making it ideal for use against tanks and armored vehicles.

Which are the advantages?

1. These helicopters will boost India’s capabilities for conducting cross-border hits on terrorist launch pads and improving its strike packages with fighter jets.

2. They will be used in war games and real-time exercises.

3. Apaches can be used in different missions- escorting troops and supplies, anti-armor, suppressing enemy air defence and play a battlefield role.

4. This is the first time that the IAF has a helicopter in its inventory, which can fire air to air missiles.

Where should India focus now?

1. India must conform to the principle of unity in command in its air force, navy and army.

2. Rearrangement of assets is essential for India.

3. Foreign companies do not part with their technology, skills used and ideas. So, Make in India has to be scaled up.

Rudra Helicopter

1. India has invested in Rudra, an indigenous helicopter.

2. It is an armed helicopter, which is lighter in weight.

3. It will also be able to take troops if required.