Why is the Apache AH-64E Vital for Indian Armed Forces?
Photo: Boeing

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has long been regarded as one of the world’s most formidable air forces, and its strength has only been bolstered with the recent induction of the Apache AH-64E helicopters. This multi-role advanced attack helicopter, manufactured by aerospace giant Boeing, has been tailored specifically for India’s unique terrain and operational requirements.

With its array of state-of-the-art weaponry, including the AGM-114 Hellfire Missiles and Hydra 70 rocket pods, the Apache AH-64E promises to be a game-changer for India’s defense capabilities. This article delves into the various features and advantages of the Apache AH-64E, shedding light on its significance in India’s military modernization efforts.

Apache AH-64E

Why is the Apache AH-64E Vital for Indian Armed Forces?

Indian Airforce, The World’s fourth strongest air force, has become Stronger with the induction of Apache AH 64e helicopters. India and Aerospace major Boeing contracted 22 Apache AH 64e helicopters through the U.S. government’s FMS (foreign military sales program) in September 2015 for under 3 billion dollars. Boeing delivered the last batch of 22 Apaches in 2020. 

Why is the Apache AH-64E Vital for Indian Armed Forces?

Apaches in the Indian Air Force are a big deal for the Indian armed forces. Currently, it serves in several countries’ forces, such as Israel, the Netherlands, Egypt, and the USA.

India is one of the largest arms importers. Most of these arms and ammunition are not battle-tested, but that’s not the case with the Apache. It’s been used extensively in battle, and every single time, it’s established itself to be a flawless war machine.

Boeing-made Apache is a multi-role advanced attack helicopter. It has been modified for Indian terrain. Apache has an excellent capability to carry weapons. Among its primary weapons, one is AGM-114 Hellfire Missiles, and the other is Hydra 70 rocket pods. Hellfire is an advanced missile. Also known as fire and forget missile. With this, Apache doesn’t have to be close to the enemy. It can target and fire within a distance of 5 miles.

It uses nose-mounted sensors to target. Hellfire missiles Can damage even a tank to a great extent. Another feature that makes it more efficient is the advanced LONGBOW RADAR. Equipped with this radar, an Apache can locate up to 256 targets simultaneously within 50 km. So it’s imaginable how furious Apache would have been in Afghanistan.

Before Apache, the Indian Air Force was primarily using MI 35. It’s a great chopper, but it is somewhat outdated. Some of the drawbacks are less fuel capacity, close in for the attack, and limited missile-carrying capacity.

Apache is a flying tank. It’s designed to survive a heavy attack and inflict massive damage. It is skilled to zero in on specific targets even in harsh weather and in the complete dark.

Apache AH-64E Hellfire Missile

Why is the Apache AH-64E Vital for Indian Armed Forces?

Apache has a chief function which is to destroy armored ground targets such as tanks and bunkers. To Destroy these heavy targets, You will need some serious firepower, too. This demand is met by the Apache’s one of the primary weapons, The Hellfire Missile. Each missile has its own guided and propulsion system. This missile is powerful enough to burn through the heaviest tank armor on the planet.

Two pylons are mounted on each wing of the chopper, and each Pylon has four firing rails. Each rail has a hellfire missile. So there are two wings with four pylons and four missiles on each pylon. So, 16 Hellfire missiles can be equipped on the Apaches.

Each missile receives the command from the helicopter’s computer.  After receiving the fire signal, the missile sets off the Propellent. Which burns and generates enough force for the missile to break free of the rail. As the missile speeds up, the force of acceleration triggers the arming mechanism. The missile hits the target, and the impact sensor sets off the warhead. 

The original Hellfire missile design required the laser light to be fixed on the target until the missile hit it. Sometimes, the problem occurs when helicopters try to keep the laser fixed, and it’s out in the open, putting it at risk. There are some drawbacks to the laser-guided system, such as obstacles in the way, cloud covering, And non-fixed lasers in a specific way.

Hellfire II missile in Longbow Apache helicopter solves this problem. It works on the radar-guided missile system

Apache AH-64E Rockets and Gun

Why is the Apache AH-64E Vital for Indian Armed Forces?
Apache AH 64E Rockets and Gun

Apache can carry up to 4 sets of hellfire missiles or a Rocket pod carrying 19 Hydra-70mm unguided rockets mounted on the wings. 

Each launcher set can carry 19 folding wings and 2.75-inch aerial rockets in launching tubes. There is an igniter at the back of the tube. It has to ignite a fire. The rocket’s fins unfold, and the second rocket leaves the tube.

An M-230 30mm automatic cannon attaches to a turret under the chopper’s nose. The choppers’ sophisticated computer system controls the gun. The computer controls the hydraulic that swings the turret from side to side and up and down. This automatic cannon is a chain gun controlled by an electric motor that rotates the chain and slides the bolt assembly back and forth to load fire, extract, and eject cartridges.

This gun’s magazine holds a maximum of 1200 rounds, which can fire 600 to 650 rounds a minute. The cannon fires the high explosive rounds designed to pierce.

Apache AH-64E controls and other significant parts

Why is the Apache AH-64E Vital for Indian Armed Forces?

Apache cockpits are divided into two sections. The front is for the gunner, and the back is for the pilot. The pilot controls the flight pattern, and the gunner aims at the target. Both sections of the cockpit have flight and fight control if one has to take control of both. There are three display panels for the pilot to see and control the navigational and flight information. 

Apache is full of sophisticated sensors and controls. The Radar dome on the mast can make out of shape of anything in the range, like choppers, ground troops, trucks, vehicles, and tanks. It pinpoints the exact location on the pilot’s screen with the help of the radio waves it emits.

Night sensors are attached to the Apache nose on the rotating turret. In that section, there is a camera and telescope as well. It works on the infrared system that detects the infrared light released by the heated objects.

Apaches can also jam the enemy radar in range. Apaches are capable of evading heat-seeking missiles by reducing their infrared signature.

Apache is protected from all sides. The reinforced armor and bulletproof glass protect the cockpit. Pilot and gunner seats are also protected by Kevlar armor. With the combination of firepower, strength, and agility, Apache is indeed a formidable war machine.

Conclusion 

In conclusion, the induction of the Apache AH-64E helicopters into the Indian Air Force marks a significant milestone in the country’s defense capabilities. With its advanced weaponry, adaptability to Indian terrain, and unmatched combat performance, the Apache AH-64E is poised to become the backbone of India’s aerial defense strategy.

Its battle-proven design and technological prowess make it a formidable force multiplier, ensuring that India’s air power remains at the forefront of modern warfare. As the Indian Air Force continues to modernize and upgrade its fleet, the Apache AH-64E is a testament to its commitment to maintaining a strong and capable defense force.