Crew and Aircraft Safe After What Appears to be An Easy Touch Down in Farm Field.
An Indian Air Force AH-64E Apache attack helicopter made an emergency landing in a farm field in the Punjab region in India on Friday after what reports say was a, “technical snag”.
Indeed, a statement from the IAF said that the helicopter experienced a critical failure 1 hour into the flight that forced the aircrew to perform an emergency landing.
IAF statement says the Apache experienced a critical failure after an hour of flight. pic.twitter.com/y1guRs3Kvv
— Livefist (@livefist) April 17, 2020
Video and stills of the aircraft appeared on social media immediately after it touched down in the farm field to the interest of a number of local passers-by. One social media observer on the Military Armed Forces Facebook group suggested that the reason for the unscheduled rural landing might be due to an exhaust intake cover not being removed prior to take-off, this was speculation from another post copied from the Indian Army News Webboard. Video shared in that post showed that the cover seen in some of the photos may actually have been placed by crewmembers after the landing.
However, it seems unlikely that the helicopter might have flown with an exhaust cover that appears to be in pristine conditions in the photographs posted online.
The AH-64E Apache is a new addition to the Indian Armed Forces having been delivered in early September 2019. The aircraft are distinctive because of their unusual grey color scheme and Indian Air Force roundels.
The Indian Air Force took delivery of their first eight Boeing AH-64E helicopters in July and August of 2019 at Hindon Air Force Station (AFS) in Ghaziabad outside New Delhi, India. The official handover of the first Boeing AH-64E took place in May, 2019 at Boeing’s Mesa, Arizona facility according to reports from Boeing and in the Asia-Pacific edition of The Diplomat.
India’s AH-64Es are attached to the Indian Air Force 125 Helicopter Squadron, known as “The Gladiators” at Pathankot Air Force Station. These aircraft replaced previous Mi-25 and Mi-35 gunship helicopters. A second AH-64E squadron is planned for deployment at Jorhat air base in Assam in northeastern India near the Indo-Chinese border. Each squadron will consist of ten helicopter gunships with two Ah-64Es held in reserve.
The Boeing AH-64E is a well-known, combat proven, twin engine attack helicopter in service with sixteen countries including the U.S., U.K., India and many others.
H/T to Giuliano Ranieri for the head-up