July 03, 2012
Credit: Credit: Boeing
NEW DELHI — India’s defense ministry on July 2 agreed to expedite the procurement of attack helicopters and other critical equipment and weapon systems.
At a meeting to review the deficiencies and requirements of India’s military services, Defense Minister A.K. Antony asked the forces to fully utilize their allocated budgets toward capital procurement and carry out systemic changes required to achieve the desired output in a short timespan.
“The requirement of air combat support, in the form of attack helicopters, over which the army and the air force have differed in the past, was discussed at the meeting,” a defense ministry official says.
The army has demanded its own assets, while the Indian air force has tried to retain control over the current fleet of Russian-made Mi-35 attack helicopters and future helicopter acquisitions, he says.
India is seeking 22 heavy attack helicopters, and it is understood to have selected Boeing’s Apache as the preferred choice over Russia’s Mi-28N Night Hunter.
Boeing submitted proposals for Apache in 2009. But India is yet to announce the winner, though Russia announced late last year that it was out of the race after failing to meet several of the Indian air force’s technical requirements.
During the meeting, army chief Gen. Bikram Singh presented the army’s perspective on capital procurements, the development of infrastructure and requirements for ammunition, the defense ministry official said.
India has allocated 1.64 trillion rupees ($35 billion) for the defense sector this fiscal year through March, up from 1.47 trillion rupees last year.