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The Indian military is bolstering its attack helicopter capabilities on two fronts: American-made Apaches and domestically produced Light Combat Helicopters (LCHs).

Deliveries of the much-anticipated AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to the Indian Army are set to begin next month. The initial batch of six helicopters from the US is expected to arrive in May. This procurement comes as a separate deal from the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) existing fleet of 22 Apaches.

While the initial deliveries mark a significant step, the Army has its sights set on further expansion. Plans are already underway to procure an additional 18 Apache helicopters. This intent to acquire more Apaches likely stems from the IAF’s refusal to transfer any of their existing fleets to the Army, despite the Army contributing funds towards their purchase.

The IAF, on the other hand, seems to be prioritizing the indigenously developed LCH for its future attack helicopter needs. This is evident in their decision to forgo further Apache procurement and focus on inducting the LCH into service.

The Indian Army Aviation is poised to become the primary operator of the LCH. A sizeable order of 90 helicopters is expected for the Army, with an additional 66 planned for the IAF. This large-scale procurement, estimated to cost ?45,000 crore, signifies the LCH’s crucial role in India’s future attack helicopter strategy.

The Indian Army’s acquisition of Apaches and the combined order of 156 LCHs by both the Army and IAF signifies a significant step towards modernizing and bolstering India’s attack helicopter capabilities. This enhanced firepower will undoubtedly strengthen India’s military preparedness.

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