By Bijan Razzaghi
India has begun to move towards the United States for aerospace procurement in particular logistics platforms as well as combat platforms. The change comes as India is rapidly modernizing its military that currently fields a combination of French and Russian equipment mixed with Israeli avionics. The equipment procured includes the Boeing C-17, Boeing AH-64E Apache and Boeing CH-47F Chinook. In addition India seeks 126 new multirole fighters that could possibly be purchased by Boeing.
The AH-64E most recently procured will likely replace or complement the Indian Mi-35 Hind and serve alongside India’s independently built Hal Light Combat Helicopter. The AH-64 Apache can fulfill India’s anti tank requirement as well as provide close air support amid threats from neighboring China. The Apache can also conduct hunter killer missions against terrorist HVTs. 6 of 39 Apaches have been approved for sale to India.
The CH-47F that India purchased is designed to fulfill India’s heavy lift and logistics requirement. Currently India has 3 Mi-26 Halos for this mission, the 15 Chinooks will likely compliment them in the resupply role. Chinooks are effective for reaching remote locations at high altitude.The Boeing C-17 will serve to compliment or replace the IL-76 which 14 are currently in service. The 11 C-17s will enhance India’s strategic air lift capabilities.
India recently sent at out an RFI for 126 multirole fighters likely to replace the existing MiG-21 or MiG-29. Boeing as a contender is likely to offer the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Block II/III. Given India’s purchasing history from Boeing, there is a higher probability Boeing will win the contract.India’s military continues to modernize its conventional and unconventional capabilities to counter threats from state and non State actors.