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Deadly AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to be made in India

Huma Siddiqui
AH-64E Apache, AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, Indian Army, made in India, Foreign Military Sales, Indian Air Force, Boeing, DSCA

An order for six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters for the Indian Army which is expected to be placed this year will be made in India. The $ 930 million will be through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and is in addition to the existing order of 22 machines for the Indian Air Force (IAF). While the approval of the Cabinet Committee for Security is awaited, according to one of the US aerospace 's giant Boeing Company has already planned to make the critical parts of the attack helicopter here in India. Talking to Financial Express Online, Michael M Koch, Vice President, India, Defense, Space & Security, "Fuselage and most of the additional structures of the helicopter will all be made here locally."

Indian companies involved in Apache Helicopters

A joint venture with between Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems Ltd. (TASL) — Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited (TBAL) established in 2016 has been manufacturing fuselages for the AH-64 Apache.

With 90 per cent parts sourced from Indian suppliers, this advanced facility is expected to become the sole producer of AH-64 fuselages globally.

Indian company Rossell Techsys which has been a long-standing supplier of Boeing since 2013 has been playing a critical role in supplying high-quality electrical panel for the AH-64 Apache. And has also been making wire harness for the helicopter.

"From the existing 160 industrial partners the number has gone up to 200 and still growing," according to Koch.

Bengaluru based Dynamatic Technologies Ltd; one of the very first companies from the Indian private sector was approved by the Boeing Company to be a supplier. This company has played a critical role in the building of the fuselage for the helicopter.

By the year-end, as per the contract IAF is expected to induct all the 22 Apache Helicopters which are replacing the Russian MI25/35 gunships, which are gradually being phased out.

Last year in June, the US State Department had given its approval for an additional sale of the attack helicopters for the Indian Army and the Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified the US Congress about the value of the deal — $ 930 million.

Skill India & Make in India

"Company's wholly owned engineering and technology campus with future avionics manufacturing and assembly capability is coming up near the third runway in Bengaluru. And, the focus is on not only creating a supply chain but also to create a world-class aerospace ecosystem in India," said Koch.

"This one of the largest direct investments of the Boeing Company outside the US."

Plans MRO for Military Aircraft in India

Responding to a question, Koch said that "Boeing is already providing MRO services for the commercial airlines in India. And we see that there is a similar opportunity in the military side."

Recently, heavy check of the Long-Range Anti-submarine Warfare P8 I aircraft was done in India. "This was possible because of our local partnership and strategic interests."

"We can bring the best of Boeing to India. As a company, we have a decade of research and technology presence in India. Boeing Research & Technology-India — a team of researchers, is our company's advanced central research and development organization here in India."

"This team has the best engineers, design engineers, researchers who are involved in not only India related programmes but also for future US programmes."

Besides the joint venture with Tata, the US Company also has a tie-up with state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) which has been the long-term supplier in India for a quarter of a century. It also has a tie-up with Mahindra Defence Systems (MDS).

"We see these companies playing an essential role in various programmes," he added.