US-made Apache choppers will be for the IAF: N A K Browne

IAF choppers

22 Apache helicopters, which are in process of being acquired from the US, will be for the IAF, Air Force chief N A K Browne said today.

"The Apaches are going to be with us only as it is an ongoing acquisition process," Air Chief Marshal Browne told PTI here on the sidelines of a 1971 Indo-Pak war anniversary function.

The Defence Ministry had recently allowed the Army to have combat choppers and said that all future acquisitions will be for it.

"The government has decided to let the Army to have its own heavy duty attack helicopters.

"The decision to vest the future inductions of attack helicopters with the Army has been taken keeping in view the operational requirements in the field," Defence Minister A K Antony had told Parliament.

He had also said that the IAF was procuring 22 AH-64D Block-III Apache helicopters from Boeing Company of USA.

Browne said the Apaches are not just for taking out enemy tanks or for air-to-ground operations but they can be used for multiple tasks such as taking out enemy radar stations and for air-to-air missions.

The Army had said recently that it was planning to send a proposal to the Defence Ministry for seeking transfer of attack helicopters from the Air Force at the earliest.

Sources said the Army had also suggested that the proposal would also include transfer of the Apache helicopters which are being procured.

The IAF and the Army in the recent past have been involved in a battle of sorts for controlling the attack helicopter fleet and the Defence Ministry has decided in

favour of the Army.

The Army already has an aviation wing but the Defence Minister has approved a long-pending demand of the 1.3 million-strong force for attack helicopters, overruling stiff opposition from the Air Force.

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