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Apache AH-64 vs Russian Mi-28N "Night Hunter": Why India opted for the US-made attack chopper

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New Delhi, Sep 04: When India set out to buy attack helicopters, it had to choose between the US-made Apache AH-64E and the Russian made Mi-28N "Night Hunter". Several experts believe that the Mi-28N was just as good as the AH-64 Apache.

US-made Apache AH-64E helicopter

AH-64 Apache vs Russian Mi-28N:

The Boeing AH-64 Apache is a four-blade, twin-turboshaft attack helicopter with a tailwheel-type landing gear arrangement and a tandem cockpit for a two-man crew. It features a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems. It is armed with a 30 mm M230 chain gun carried between the main landing gear, under the aircraft's forward fuselage.

Boeing AH-64E Apache, the world's most advanced multi-role combat helicopters

The Mi-28 combat helicopter has been developed by Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant and is known by the NATO codename Havoc. In August 1996 Mil rolled out a prototype of the day and night capable version, the Mi-28N Night Havoc. The first production Mi-28N took its first flight in April 2004 and began flight testing with the Russian Air Force in June 2005.

Several experts, as per reports published in various leading defence journals, believe that the Mi-28N was just as good as the AH-64 Apache Longbow. Some experts, as quoted by some defence journals, are also of opinion that in terms of flight performance, arms specifications, combat survivability, and operating convenience Mi-28N could be on par, if not superior, to Apache. But, when it comes to shooting accuracy, the US chopper is said to be better than the Russian chopper.

Also, the ammunition of the Russian helicopter is smaller. Another reason stated by experts is that India wants to diversify its arms procurement and not depend on only one supplier. Indian already has many defence equipment, choppers and fighter jets made by Russia.

India has tried to move to even Israel and France in recent times for its defence procurement than depend only on Russia like it used to be some two decades back. India has also not been satisfied with Russia's execution of its obligations. Defence journals have quoted Indian officials as saying that Russia does not meet the requirements of delivery dates, modernisation and repairs. Apache has also proved its mettle in many conflict zones world over including Afghanistan.

Explained: The importance of the Apache attack choppers inducted into IAF

IAF gets 8 AH-64E Apache choppers:

The Indian Air Force on Tuesday inducted eight of these attack helicopters into its inventory at a ceremony held at the Pathankot Air Base, which will also provide a major boost to the IAF's firepower capabilities. The AH-64E Apache is one of the world's most advanced multi-role combat helicopters, and is flown by the US Army. The IAF had signed a multi-billion dollar contract with the US government and Boeing Ltd in September 2015 for 22 Apache helicopters. These helicopters are equipped with advanced weaponry system, which includes air-to-air Stinger missiles, air-to-ground Hellfire missiles, 70 mm Hydra rockets, and one 30 mm chain gun with 1200 rounds, the IAF said.

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