The first of the six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters for the Indian army is expected to be delivered early next year. And by April 2024 the Indian Army will receive all the six. The training of the Army aviation pilots and technicians is already underway in the US.
On Wednesday (Jan 19, 2023) the first of the six fuselages which have been made for the Indian Army’s Apaches and was handed over for assembly. Five more are in the process of being produced at the Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited (TBAL) facility based in Hyderabad. This factory is a joint venture between the US Aerospace Company Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems Limited. The fuselage before being shipped out to the Arizona facility of Boeing by TBAL was handed over to the Director General of Army Aviation Lt Gen AK Suri.
It has already been reported earlier that the TBAL facility has so far manufactured 200 fuselages and moved them for assembly. This means that every Apache AH-64 helicopter flying worldwide will have at least some parts that have been made by TBAL.
About the Facility
In an official statement issued by Boeing the facility spread over 14,000 sq.m is the sole supplier for Apache fuselages globally. This facility established in 2016 also makes complex aero-structure for Boeing 737 and 777 civil aircraft models. Around 900 engineers and technicians are working at this location and use advanced aerospace concepts manufacturing processes, cutting-edge robotics and automation.
In an earlier interaction with Financial Express Online in 2020, Michael M Koch, the then Vice President, India, Defense, Space & Security, had said that most of the additional structures including fuselage for the helicopter will be made locally in India. And he had also said that several Indian companies will be involved in the making of Apache Helicopters. The number has been growing from just 160; it has gone up to 200 plus Indian companies involved in making different components for the Apache helicopter.
In fact another Indian company Rossell Techsys since 2013 has been a long-standing supplier of Boeing and has been playing a very important role in supplying high-quality electrical panels for the AH-64 Apache and wire harness for the helicopter.
In 2019 the US State Department gave its approval for an additional sale of the attack helicopters for the Indian Army. In 2020 a deal valued at approx US $ 800 million has been inked for the six helicopters for the Army.
Attack Helicopters for India Army
Recently the Army Aviation inducted its first dedicated attack helicopter — Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) `Prachanda’. The first LCH squadron of the Indian Army is located in the eastern sector near the Line of Actual Control in Missamari, Assam last November.
In a deal signed back in September 2015 the Indian Air Force (IAF) procured 22 Apache Attack Helicopters through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route. This was following the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approval for the procurement of 39 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters from the US. And the government decided to get six for the Army.