This article first appeared in Aerospace Daily & Defense Report.
NEW DELHI -- India's air force has agreed to purchase 22 Apache AH-64D multirole combat helicopters from Boeing in a deal worth an estimated $1.4 billion.
"The financial bid for attack helos was opened some time last week, and since Russia had withdrawn its Mi-28N Night Hunter, Boeing emerged as the sole bidder," a senior defense ministry official says.
The Apache deal includes both direct commercial sale (DCS) and foreign military sales (FMS) components. The agreement also includes offset elements and firm, fixed-cost pricing.
The FMS contract includes munitions, training, aircraft certification and components including engines, electro-optical sensors and the fire control radar, which is optional. The DCS contract primarily consists of the aircraft (less engines/sensors), logistic support, spares and services.
A person closely associated with the deal says talks with the U.S. government concerning the FMS, and with Boeing on the DCS, already have started. "We expect the contract to be signed before the end of this financial year [March 31, 2013]," the person says.
Boeing offered its latest Block-III version of the Apache to India in 2009. Russia, which had fielded the Mi-28, announced late last year that it was out of the running after failing to meet several of the air force's technical requirements.
Boeing says the timing of deliveries will depend on the air force's specific requirements. According to the request for proposals, deliveries should start within 36 months of the contract signing.
The next-generation version of the original AH-64A Apache, the multimission AH-64D has two high-performance turboshaft engines and can cruise at a maximum speed of 284 kph. The attack helo also has laser, infrared and other systems (including a target acquisition designation sight/pilot night vision sensor) to locate, track and attack targets.
The aircraft carries a combination of laser-guided Hellfire missiles, 70-mm rockets and a 30-mm automatic cannon loaded with up to 1,200 high-explosive, dual-purpose ammunition rounds.
Meanwhile the Indian government also will soon open bids for heavy-lift helicopters and aerial refueling tankers, Indian air force chief, N.A.K. Browne says.
Boeing is offering the Chinook CH-47F and Russia its Mi-26 for the heavy-lift contract. Airbus is offering its A330-based multirole tanker transport against the Russian Ilyushin IL-76 in the race to win the refueler contract.