Indian Army To Operate Attack Chopper Units

In what is being seen as a crucial victory for the Indian Army after a long-standing spat with the Indian Air Force, the government today accorded clearance to the Army to operate its own attack helicopter units.

India currently has two attack helicopter units, both under the command and control of the Army, but flown and maintained by IAF pilots and personnel. Seems pretty clear that the government's approval today means (a) that the two Mi-25/35 flights under two helicopter units will soon be flown by Army Aviation pilots (the choppers are in IAF livery) and the IAF will raise new units to house the 22 new attack helicopters (prospectively, the Boeing AH-64D Apache Block III) and, later, the Light Combat Helicopter. (b) The Mi-25/35s will be transferred to IAF command and control, while the Army raises new units and floats fresh requirements (it already stands to receive the Dhruv-WSI), or (c) a status quo on command and control of the current units, until new platforms enter service.

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