The first Indian-built AH-64E Apache fuselage, built in Hyderabad by the Boeing-Tata Advanced Systems Ltd joint venture, will be rolled out in 2018, with the first chopper to be delivered to the Indian Air Force in 2019. Livefist can confirm that work has begun towards the ground-breaking ceremony for a new facility that will take place in April. That sets down a crucial and substantial part of the Make in India push.
Announced in mid-2015 as the big plan, a definite date now on the first fuselage roll-out is the most tangible step forward for aerospace manufacture in India in years -- and bodes well for budding aspirations towards making India a credible aerostructure and subsystems hub on par with countries like Korea. Tata's focused aggression in the space has also served as a template for other private players with resources, and augurs solidly for similar work that should come India's way. Chinook aerostructures (ramps and pylons) are being churned out already by India's Dynamatics Technologies.
Livefist can also confirm through sources that the IAF has asked for -- and will be receiving -- 11 Longbow radar versions of the AH-64E. India has signed up for 22 of the AH-64E variant (the re-designated AH-64D Block III). Neither the Indian Air Force nor Boeing has officially revealed how many of the 22 will be Longbow versions, sporting the NorthropGrumman AN/APG-78 'Longbow' fire control radar. Unlike the US Army that counts one Longbow in every three airframes, Longbows will arm every other airframe in IAF service.