The U.S. State Department has approved the sale of six additional AH-64 Apache attack helicopters to India. The Army will operate them.
“The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to India of items in support of a proposed direct commercial sale of six AH-64E Apache helicopters for an estimated cost of $930 million,” the Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a statement.
The DSCA has delivered the required certification notifying the U.S. Congress of this possible sale on June 12. Last August, the Defence Ministry approved the procurement of six Apaches for the Army exercising the optional clause in the original deal signed with the U.S. in November 2015. Under the $3-billion deal, India had contracted 22 Apaches and 15 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters.
There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale, the statement added.
The optional clause has a provision for 11 helicopters and the Army was hoping to get all of them, but the government has limited it to six after objection from the finance wing in the MoD.
The Army has for long pitched for its own dedicated attack helicopter fleet integrated with its strike Corps and projected a requirement of 39 Apaches. It had even sparred with the Air Force for control of the 22 helicopters which was rejected by the government.