A high-level delegation from US-based Boeing Company will be visiting New Delhi later this month to showcase the firm's Apache attack chopper to the ministry of defence even as the Indian Air Force (IAF) prepares to float a global request for information (RFI) on replacements for its ageing fleet of Soviet-era Mi-35 helicopter gun ships.
A senior company official told FE on the sidelines of a visit by a group of Indian journalists to the Apache production facilities here that, "the delegation is expected to reach New Delhi on May 18 and will meet senior officials in the ministry as well as make presentations on what we believe is the best helicopter of its class in the world today".
"The Apache has been in production for 25 years and has a proven track record in the global war against terror in Afghanistan and Iraq," the official said. Speaking on conditions of anonymity, the official added, "We will be fully compliant with the Defence Procurement Policy-2006 (DPP-2006). In fact, we will even go one step further".
"What we plan to propose is a logistics support arrangement under which Boeing officials will be posted at the locations where the Apache is deployed to provide assistance with maintenance (this is not mandated in the DPP)."
In case the defence ministry and the IAF don't agree to such an arrangement, the official said, "In that case, we can provide remote assistance from a location closest to India. What we are also committing is the replacement within 24 hours of a part that goes defective. We will then fly out that part, repair it and reinstall it".
Earlier, outlining the capabilities of the helicopter, Brad Rounding, programme manager of the Apache programme, described it as the "most trusted weapon system on the battlefield" and pointed out that it had logged 2,100,000 hours with the US forces since its induction.
"The Apache has flown 70,000 combat hours in Afghanistan and 350,000 combat hours in Iraq. It is the most survivable aviation system on the battlefield," Rounding added.
"An aircraft designed to fight tanks in the Cold War era is now the weapon of choice in the global war against terror," he added. Apart from the US, the armed forces of Britain, the armed forces of Greece, Holland and Japan currently operate the Apache.
Link:IndianExpress.com :: Boeing men to woo India with Apache