India Buy 22 AH-64D Block III

India paved the way to buying 22 Boeing Apache helicopters plus logistics support by requesting the purchase to the U.S. Defense Security C...

India paved the way to buying 22 Boeing Apache helicopters plus logistics support by requesting the purchase to the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

The DSCA notified the U.S. Congress of the possible foreign military sale, which doesn't include offset agreements for manufacturing in India.

The shopping list for the Direct Commercial Sale of the AH-64D Block III Apache helicopters includes engines, equipment, weapons, training and parts worth around $1.4 billion.

The request for clearance of the sale doesn't mean India has chosen the Apache but it does allow the sale to proceed quickly if the Indian military opts for the Boeing-U.S. Army proposal.

Items on the list include 50 of General Electric's T700-GE-701D engines that produce around 2,000 shaft horsepower as well as 12 of the Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman AN/APG-78 fire control radars and 12 of the AN/APR-48A radar frequency interferometers.

Armaments include 812 of the AGM-114L-3 Hellfire Longbow missiles, 542 AGM-114R-3 Hellfire II missiles and 245 Stinger Block I-92H missiles. The Apache can operate up to 21,000 feet and has a maximum speed of 182 miles per hour with a cruising speed of 165 mph. Its operating range is 295 miles.

The four-blade, two-engine Apache attack helicopter was developed as Model 77 by Hughes Helicopters for the U.S. Army to replace the AH-1 Cobra. The Apache first flew in 1975 and has a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night-vision systems. The Apache can carry a 30mm M230 chain gun between the main landing gear, under the aircraft's forward fuselage.

Prime contractors for contract will be Lockheed Martin in Orlando, Fla.; and its Mission Systems and Sensor division in Owego, N.Y.; General Electric in Cincinnati; Longbow Limited Liability Corporation in Orlando and Raytheon in Tucson.

Comparable helicopters reportedly being considered by India include the Agusta A129 Mangusta, Bell YAH-63, Eurocopter Tiger and the Mil Mi-24 and Mi-28.

The DSCA said the proposed sale would contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by strengthening the U.S.-India strategic relationship and improve security and political stability in the subcontinent. Also, the proposed sale wouldn't alter the basic military balance in the region, the DSCA said.

If the sale goes through, India would be operating the most advanced version of the Apache. The Army took delivery of its first AH-64Ds in 1997 and plans to take delivery of the first Block III versions, the most advanced version, in November 2012.

The U.S. Army remains the primary operator of the AH-64 but other countries, including United Kingdom, Israel, Japan, Greece and the Netherlands, are using it.

U.S. Army AH-64s have served in Panama, Persian Gulf War, Kosovo War, Afghanistan and Iraq. Israel has used its versions in conflicts in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

In September, India said it would buy another 59 Mi-17 military helicopters worth $1.9 billion from Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport. The purchase is in addition to the 80 Mi-17s ordered in 2008, Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik said.

The twin-turbine transport helicopter, made by the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant and the Kazan Helicopter Plant, also can act as a gun ship for offensive operations. It was designed specifically for the old Soviet Union's war in Afghanistan.

Late last year, a Tata-Sikorsky joint venture for manufacturing aerospace components and systems in India was scheduled to start production of cabins for Sikorsky's S-92 search and rescue helicopter. Production is at the new facility in the Aerospace Park on the outskirts of Hyderabad, India.

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