A brand new Apache multi-role combat helicopter made an emergency landing in a field in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur on Friday (April 17) following a “critical” technical glitch, in first such incident involving any of the US-made fleet procured by the Indian Air Force.
The two pilots onboard the chopper were safe and there was no damage to it, a spokesperson of the IAF said. The helicopter made the emergency landing nearly one hour after taking off from the Pathankot airbase following indications of a “critical failure”, he said.
The IAF inducted eight AH-64E Apache stealth helicopters, capable of firing missiles and rockets, in September last year. The AH-64E Apache is one of the world’s most advanced multi-role combat helicopters, and is flown by the US Army. India had signed a multi-billion dollar contract with the US government and Boeing Ltd in September 2015 to procure 22 Apache helicopters.
“The helicopter, after approx one hour of flying had indications of a critical failure and carried out a safe landing west of Indora, Punjab. The captain of the aircraft took correct and prompt actions to recover the helicopter safely,” the IAF said in a statement.
The chopper has been flown back to Pathankot airbase. The IAF is expected to order a thorough inquiry into the incident. Two pilots on board — Flight Lieutenant Anoop and Flight Lieutenant Rajat –are safe, officials said.