A Boeing AH-64D Apache helicopter takes to the air in a file photo. The Indian Army has asked the Defence Ministry to acquire an unspecified number of AH-64D Apache attack helicopters, according to an MoD source. (Leon Neal / AFP)
NEW DELHI — Boeing could snare yet another big order from India as the Indian Army has asked the Defence Ministry to acquire an unspecified number of AH-64D Apache attack helicopters, according to an MoD source.
Last year, the Indian Air Force purchased 22 Apaches for US $1.3 billion. Beyond the Indian Army request, a third order of helicopters could be in the offing for India’s planned Mountain Corps.
Boeing executives in New Delhi were unavailable for comment.
US companies have already won contracts worth more than $8 billion over the past four years, and most of the weapons and equipment supplied to India have come through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route. India has bought 10 Boeing C-17 aircraft, 12 Boeing P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft and six Lockheed Martin C-130J transport planes.
The Indian Army wants its Apaches to be exclusive to the service and not associated with the Air Force’s 22 helicopters.
The MoD source added that, instead of inviting fresh bids, the MoD is considering a repeat order, which he said could be finalized by the end of the year. The size of the order is not known.
Meanwhile, an Indian Army official said the newly sanctioned Mountain Corps of roughly 30,000 troops, which could be deployed along the China border, would also be equipped with yet another purchase of attack helicopters.
The Cabinet Committee on Security, the highest decision-making body on weapon purchases and security, approved the additional troops this month.
The attack helicopters for the Mountain Corps would be in addition to the order being considered by the MoD for the Army. The Indian Army, however, must still decide when and how to procure the additional unspecified numbers of attack helicopters for the Mountain Corps, which is expected to be in operation in about 10 years, the Indian Army official said.
India has, meanwhile, developed an indigenous light combat helicopter. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited will build 60 Rudra helicopters for the Army and Air Force.
The Rudra is powered by a new Shakti engine, jointly developed by Hindustan Aeronautics and French engine manufacturer Turbomeca. The new engine will allow the Rudra to fly above 20,000 feet.