IAF fully prepared for any type of conventional conflict
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has deployed its Apache and Chinook helicopters along the Line of Actual Control(LAC) as the Indian and Chinese armies face down a bitter winter in the high Himalayas this year.
India's air chief Air chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria had said recently that the forces are "fully prepared" for a "two-front war".
"Our immediate offensive deployment of combat-ready units in response to the standoff at the LAC (Line of Actual control) in the north is indicative of our operational state today. We are determined to handle any contingency, undoubtedly, our capability and intent would deter," Bhadauria had said.
"The Indian Air Force (IAF) is fully prepared for any type of conventional conflict or any other conflict, including two-front war. We always focus on building up and preparing our (IAF) operational capability against the current threat scenario, and we are completely ready for a two-front war as well," the air chief said.
The Indian Air Force proudly displayed the Apache, Mi-35 attack helicopters during Air Force Day celebrations on October 8 as the forces prepare for a tough winter ahead.
AH-64E Apache attack helicopters
According to Boeing, the IAF has a fleet of 22 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters. This year the company signed an agreement with the Indian government for the acquisition of six AH-64E Apache helicopters for the Indian Army.
The AH-64E greater thrust and lift, joint digital operability, improved survivability and cognitive decision aiding makes it an elite fighting force capable of undertaking any mission under varied conditions.
Apache's vertical rate of climb
The Apache's vertical rate of climb is at over 2,000 feet per minute with a speed of 279 kilometres per hour. The company had handed the final five of the 22 Apache attack helicopters to the IAF in July.
The helicopter is equipped with Modernized Target Acquisition Designation System which provides day, night and all-weather target information including night-vision navigation capability. It also has Fire Control Radar to operate in the maritime conditions.
India and US had signed a contract for the acquisition of six Apaches for the Indian Army during President Trump’s visit to India earlier this year.
Heavy-lift Chinook helicopter
Boeing had also handed the over the last five of 15 CH-47F(I) Chinook heavy-lift helicopters to the IAF in March. According to the company, India is one of 17 nations to select the Apache and has the most advanced variant, the AH-64E Apache that is also flown by the US and many other countries.
The company says twenty defence forces around the world either have Chinooks in service, or are on contract to receive them.
The iconic tandem-rotor helicopter has been the world’s most reliable and efficient heavy-lift helicopter for more than 50 years, allowing customers to operate in climatic (hot), altitude (high), and crosswind conditions that typically keep other helicopters from flying.
According to reports, China has around 280 attack helicopters which are mainly reconnaissance and armed versions, not the premier Apaches which India has acquired from the United States. The PLA depends on Harbin WZ-19 light reconnaissance helicopter and the Changhe Z-11 light utility helicopter.
The biggest weakness of the Chinese helicopters is that it hasn't been tested in battle conditions, that too in high altitude. China also has the Russian-built Mi-17 helicopters, which India also possesses.
China also has the Z-20 helicopter which has been operating along the LAC. India with its fleet of Mi-17 V5 copters can easily take on the Dragon in the high Himalayas.
Chinese Army depends on Z-8G large transport helicopter
In order to do the heavy lifting, the Chinese Army depends on Z-8G large transport helicopter which reports say is a copy of French SA 321 Super Frelon that France had sold to China in the 1970s.
The Z-8G is no match for India's Chinook which transports men, material and heavy artillery guns along the LAC and has been doing that few months already in tough battle conditions.
HAL's Rudra (ALH-WSI)
Although India has around 70-80 attack helicopters (AH), its precision-guided Apaches and HAL's Rudra(ALH-WSI) with rockets and turret guns makes India's Air Force and Army a potent force in high altitude.
Rudra is a variant of Dhruv, however, it has been stuck in production delays over the years. India has been vying for faster production and rollout especially in the light of developments along the LAC in the last few months.