WASHINGTON: In a move that could be a big boost for India’s defensive capabilities, the US State Department on Tuesday approved the sale of six Boeing AH-64E Apache helicopters for $930 million.
The agreement has been passed to the US Congress for approval, but if no US lawmaker raises an objection the contract is expected to go ahead.
According to a news release from Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the sale of the attack helicopters, would help in strengthening US-Indian strategic relationship and to ‘improve the security of an important partner which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in South Asia.’
“This support for the AH-64E will provide an increase in India’s defensive capability to counter ground-armored threats and modernize its armed forces,” the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement.
While the release highlights that the proposed sale won’t alter the basic military balance in South Asia, many feel the attack helicopters could enable Indian armed forces to tackle ground-armoured threats.
The Apache is manufactured by Boeing – a company that is now in partnership with TATA to manufacture the helicopters in India. The lead contractors are US arms, aviations and engineering giants Lockheed Martin, General Electric and Raytheon.
Apart from the attack helicopter, the US State Department also approved sale of four AN/APG-78 Fire Control Radars, 180 AGM-114L-3 Hellfire Longbow missiles, 90 AGM-114R-3 Hellfire II missiles, 200 Stinger Block I-92H missiles, Embedded GPS Inertial Navigation Systems, 30mm cannons, transponders, simulators, training equipment, night vision sensors, GPS guidance and hundreds of Hellfire anti-armor and Stinger air-to-air missiles, etc.