An Apache AH-64E attack helicopter of the Indian Air Force on Friday made a precautionary landing at a village in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur district. The members on board the aircraft are said to be safe.
“On 17 April , an Apache helicopter of the IAF got airborne from Pathankot Airbase. The helicopter, after approx 1 hour of flying had indications of a critical failure and carried out a safe landing west of Indora, Punjab. The captain of the aircraft took correct and prompt actions to recover the helicopter safely. Crew on board the helicopter are safe and there has been no damage to any property. The aircraft will be recovered after necessary rectification,” the IAF said in a statement.
This is the first incident involving the latest helicopters imported by the IAF from the United States. India inked a $ 1.1-billion deal with US defence giant Boeing in September 2015 for 22 Apaches.
These choppers are being split in two squadrons, with one based at Pathankot and the other at Jorhat.
Armed with fire-and-forget Hellfire missiles, an Apache can track up to 128 targets a minute and prioritise threats. The missiles equip the gunships with heavy anti-armour capabilities.
The Indian Army is also buying six Apache attack helicopters in a deal worth $930 million. The army will deploy attack helicopters for the first time. The six army Apaches are being bought as a follow-on option to the 2015 IAF contract.