Defence Industry

Helicopter Acquisition by the IAF
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 17 Nov , 2011

The Indian Ministry of Defence is currently in the process of finalising helicopter gunships for the IAF in a deal worth $550 million. Its acquisition were earlier dogged by controversy. The IAF intends to procure 22 attack helicopters for which trials have already been conducted in India as well in Russia and the US. The contenders are the US-made AH 64D Apache Longbow and the Russian Mil Mi 28 (Havoc). The twin-engine, twin-cockpit Mi-28 with a single under-nose gun and rocket pods attached to short wings is on offer from the Russians while the US is offering the Boeing-made AH64D Apache which is a four-blade, twin-engine attack helicopter that fires Hellfire missiles and has a tandem cockpit for two. Both helicopters are heavily armoured for close combat.


The IAF also plans to ink a contract this year for the acquisition of heavy-lift helicopters for which the main contenders are Boeing’s CH-47 Chinook and the Russian Mil Mi 26 T2.

With the capability to airlift about 70 armed troops and artillery guns such as the ultra-light howitzers, a heavy-lift chopper is of immense strategic value.

Also the most crucial contract is for the 197 light-utility helicopters for both the IAF and Indian Army which will be expanded to over 384 helicopters. The Eurocopter AS 550 Fennec and the Russian Kamov Ka 226 are in the race for which trials have been completed. These light-utility helicopters, meant for surveillance, will replace the vintage Cheetahs and Chetaks with the Armed Forces. 

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