It was the Apache attack helicopters that fired the first shots in the Operation Desert Storm, the US-led military campaign against Iraq after the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. These helicopters had taken off from the US base in Saudi Arabia and destroyed all the early warning radar installations in Iraq thereby clearing the way for the US fighter jets to move undetected and conduct the bombing.
The good news is that the Indian Army will soon get these powerful assault helicopters, which means that soon, the Indian Army will have the capabilities to carry out daring assaults. These primary attack helicopters of the US Army can be a major air asset to the Indian Army and will be an important component in the tank battles. These helicopters can easily slip around mountains for cover so they can be an important assault weapon against the Chinese Army in case of a conflict. These choppers can play an important role in ensuring victory with the fast and destructive air assault powers.
The Army chief of 1963, Gen. J. N. Chaudhary had said about the necessity to have an air wing for the Indian Army with attack helicopters. He had stressed that to increase the mobility and firepower of the Army, it will need an integral air wing featuring heavy, medium, and light attack helicopters. Even though the Army Aviation Corps was formed afterwards, attack helicopters were not provided to the Army. There was a long drawn fight with the Indian Air Force over the control of the Apache helicopters that are to replace the Mi-35 of the Indian Air Force.
The Cabinet Committee on Security approved the purchase of 22 Boeing Apaches for the Indian Air Force in September 2015. The centre had said that the Indian Army will also get these attack helicopters, but the procurement was delayed. However, the Defence Acquisition Council has now cleared a ₹4,168 crore procurement deal for six Apache helicopters for the Indian Army.
The acquisition of these helicopters has increased the options for the Indian Army in land battles. These helicopters can be used to improve the mechanized operations with infantry combat vehicles and tanks in semi desert and desert areas. These helicopters can be used to destroy enemy tanks before sending in the Indian tanks. As per an Army official, “The damage that this helicopter can cause to an enemy tank is greater than what can be caused in tank to tank battles.”