The Army has now revived its quest for a “mini air force” of its own, in a move that has been bitterly opposed by the IAF in the past.
The force wants three squadrons of heavy-duty attack helicopters, among other choppers, for its three primary “strike” corps geared for rapid armoured thrusts into enemy territory.
For starters, the 1.3-million strong Army is seeking the government’s approval for the acquisition of 11 Apache attack helicopters from the US as “a follow-on contract” to the earlier Rs 13,952 crore deal inked for 22 such choppers for the IAF.
The procurement proposal is likely to be considered by the defence acquisitions council (DAC) in its meeting to be chaired by defence minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday
The Army is in a hurry because the “50% repeat order option”, with the same terms and conditions, can be exercised only till September 28 since the original contract was inked on that date in 2015.