According to a release by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the U.S. State Department approved the sale of equipment including Hellfire and Stinger missiles, supporting a proposed direct commercial sale of six Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters. The total estimated program cost is $930 million.
Earlier, India requested a range of equipment including 14 General Electric engines, four AN/APG-78 fire control radars and other radar equipment, seven of the Apache’s Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor systems and 14 Embedded GPS Inertial Navigation Systems. The proposed sale also includes 180 AGM-114 L-3 Hellfire Longbow air-to-surface anti-armor missiles; 90 AGM-114 R-3 Hellfire II air-to-surface missiles; 200 Stinger air-to-air missiles; rockets; 30 mm cannons and ammunition. It also includes simulators, communication equipment, spare and repair parts, training, engineering and other support.
“The proposed sale will “strengthen India’s ability to defend its homeland and deter regional threats” and “provide an increase in India’s defensive capability to counter ground-armored threats and modernize its armed forces,” DSCA said. The prime contractors for the support sale will be Lockheed Martin, General Electric, Longbow and Raytheon, while Boeing manufactures the Apache helicopters.
On June 1, Tata Boeing Aerospace delivered the first AH-64 Apache helicopter fuselage made in Hyderabad, India. The joint venture between Boeing and Tata will be the sole Apache helicopter fuselage producer for Boeing’s global customers including the U.S. Army. All the completed fuselages will be transported to Boeing’s facility in Arizona for integration. India’s Ministry of Defence initially ordered 22 AH-64E Apache helicopters for the Indian Air Force in September 2015 and deliveries are set to begin in 2019. Then, in August 2017, India’s Defence Acquisition Council approved the purchase of a further six aircraft. The Diplomat reported that the later purchase for the Indian Army Aviation Corps was under an option clause to the earlier contract that allowed for a follow-on order of up to 11 additional Apaches at a price that was agreed in 2013.