The Indian Government wants to purchase an additional seven Chinook and six Apache helicopters to strengthen its fleet.
In a virtual interview given to The Hindu, Boeing’s Vice President said that the Indian Government wants to purchase an additional seven Chinook and six Apache helicopters. He also stated the advantages of the F-18 Super Hornet over Rafale-M.
With the Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant scheduled to be commissioned on 15 August 2022, the Indian Navy is in urgent need of carrier-capable jets.
The Indian Navy is considering the French Dassault Rafale-M and Boeing F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet for its aircraft carriers.
The Navy has the actual requirement of 57 carrier-based fighters that can operate from both of its carriers – INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant.
But later the navy decided to buy 31 of its newly designed indigenous Twin Engine Carrier Based Deck Fighter (which is currently under development and expected to conduct its first flight in 2026). Now the navy will buy 26 fighters either from the USA or France.
The F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet fighter jet has distinct advantages in terms of capability over the competitor French Rafale-M jet to operate from the Indian Navy’s aircraft carriers. India is also negotiating the purchase of additional Chinook CH-47F(I) Chinook heavy-lift helicopters and AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, according to Torbjorn (Turbo) Sjogren, vice president of, International Government and Defence, Boeing.
“One thing we’re very confident about is the capability that readiness and the proficiency of the product. The F/A-18 and F/A-18F can operate off Indian aircraft carriers. That’s a clear discriminator we’ve got over the French,” Mr. Turbo said in a virtual interview to The Hindu, pointing out that the twin seater trainer variant of the Rafale-M cannot operate from carriers and would be sitting on the ground. The number of trainer aircraft within the deal is not an insignificant number, he noted.
Two Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets were there in Goa last month to show their capabilities and suitability to operate from Indian Navy Aircraft Carriers. They demonstrated their ability on the Indian Navy’s Shore Based Test Facility located at Naval Air Station INS Hansa in Goa. The French Rafale-M carried out similar demonstration earlier this year.
Indian Air Force operates 22 AH-64E Apache Guardian and 15 Chinook Heavy-lift Military Cargo Helicopters which were purchased from Boeing through the Foreign Military Sales Programme of the United States Government under a 3 billion USD deal in September 2015.
India signed a deal for additional numbers of Apaches in February 2020. These new Apaches will be operated by the Indian Army.
On a discussion on another deal, Mr. Turbo said “The Indian Army is looking for more Apaches and Indian Air Force is looking for more Chinooks.”
Talking about the large numbers of Boeing Products used by the Indian Armed Forces, Mr. Turbo said, “The performance of our products, and the teams that support our products, I think, is instrumental in terms of those campaigns going forward.”
He further stated that, the size of the Indian Aircraft Carrier, the logistics of the aircraft, in terms of how many aircraft and how to move the aircraft on the carrier, there are challenges. But our team in Bangalore has solved the problem.
How Boeing products are boosting Indian Military Power?
Currently, India uses several different types of advanced weapons manufactured by the Boeing Company. Examples include C-17 Globemaster III Strategic Military Transport Aircraft, P-8I Poseidon Maritime patrol and submarine hunter aircraft, AH-64E Apache Guardian Attack Helicopter and CH-47 Chinook Heavy-lift Military Cargo Helicopter.
The AH-64 Apache is extremely helpful for the Indian Air Force and Indian Army in the Tank destroyer role, each apache gunship is equipped with 16 Hellfire Anti Tank Guided Missiles. Enough to completely destroy enemy armored vehicles.
The CH-47 Chinook is an advanced multi-mission helicopter that is providing the Indian Air Force with excellent strategic airlift capability while performing different types of missions. The Indian Air Force has used Chinook in the lifting and transportation of various military equipments such as armoured vehicles and the M-777 Howitzer. Chinook’s ability to work at high altitudes has been very helpful for the IAF, the aircraft can easily be used in areas such as Siachen Glacier and Ladakh. In these high altitude areas, Chinook is used to assist Indian forces deployed at the Indian borders with China and Pakistan.
Other Boeing products such as the Submarine Hunter P-8 Poseidon and C-17 Globemaster III are also helpful for the Indian Armed Forces in detection and destruction of enemy submarines and the transportation of large military equipments and supplies to the battlefield respectively.