The Indian Finance Ministry has given a go ahead for New Delhi’s plans to acquire 22 Apache attack and 15 Chinook heavy lift helicopters for $3.1 billion from Boeing.
The deal is expected to be cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on Tuesday before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit to UN general assembly meeting in New York.
The decision by the finance ministry has come after a delay of nearly three years and 13 price extensions.
Boeing last extended the price deadline in June. The last extension ends this month.
With Boeing and US Army Security Assistance Command threatening to escalate the price after September 30 by nearly 40% after holding it steady since 2009, finance minister Arun Jaitley, defense minister Manohar Parrikar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval put their heads together this week.
“We have conveyed our no objections to the deal being considered by the CCS,” a senior finance ministry official was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times daily Sunday.
The decision was pending since April when the Apache proposal was sent to the finance ministry on April 23, while the proposal to buy Chinooks was sent in May.
India plans to purchase 22 Apache AH 64D Longbow helicopters with purchase option of another 11 at the cost of $2 billion. This state-of-the-art attack helicopter will be acquired with Hell Fire missiles and around 8,000 rockets.
The Apache attack choppers, armed with fire-and-forget Hellfire missiles, can track up to 128 targets in a minute and prioritize threats. These missiles equip the helicopter gunships with heavy anti-armor capabilities. The army is moving a case to buy 39 Apache helicopters. The Chinook’s main roles include transporting troops, artillery and battlefield resupply.