NEW DELHI — After three years of waiting, India's Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS), the highest body headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and which is responsible for the purchase of weapons and equipment, has cleared a $2.5 billion deal to buy 22 Apache AH-64 Block III attack helicopters and 15 Chinook CH-47F heavy-lift helicopters from Boeing.
CCS approval, granted at a meeting Tuesday, means formalities have been cleared and the deal could be inked in the next two months, said a Defence Ministry official.
CCS clearance came ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Sept. 24-29 visit to the US, when he is scheduled to meet President Barack Obama.
While the Boeing deal was finalized in 2013, CCS clearance had been delayed because of issues relating to offset obligations, which have been sorted out, the MoD official said. to be fulfilled by MoD , which have now been sorted only after the Indian government allowed defense deals to go through pending finalization of the offset issues, the MoD official added.
Boeing extended its price quote for the helicopters in July until the end of September, thereby agreeing to sell the helicopters at the price the company had quoted in 2013.
Boeing's AH-64 Apache Block III helicopter was selected in open competition over the Russian Mi-28N Night Hunter. The Chinook CH-47F heavy lift helicopter was selected as it had lower life-cycle costs than the Russian Mi-26 helicopter.
Currently India operates a Russian-built fleet of aging Mi-35 attack helicopters that need replacement.
With the helicopter deal, India has bought weapons and equipment from the US worth more than $10 billion since 2001, including P-8I maritime surveillance planes, C-130J Super Hercules and C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft.
Vivek Raghuvanshi is the India correspondent for Defense News.