IAF’s brand new Apache helicopter makes emergency landing in Punjab

An IAF spokesperson said the two pilots onboard the chopper were safe and there was no damage to it

Apache
Locals stand near an Apache helicopter that made an emergency landing in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur district on Friday | PTI Photo

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.

Related news: Indian Air Force inducts eight US-made 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.

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