Notwithstanding stiff opposition from the Air Force,the government has decided to give the control of attack helicopters to the Army.
“We have received a letter from the defence ministry and we have been given the attack helicopters by the government,” Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh said.
The Army had been demanding control over attack and medium-lift helicopters saying they are mainly used for its operations and that is why they should be under it. The IAF has been strongly opposing the demand.
Army had been maintaining that the induction of tactical and attack choppers into the force was an “inescapable operational necessity” as infrastructure along the borders with China is “far from satisfactory” and such assets would be required to cut down on the time for movement.
The tussle between the two Services over the issue had come out in open when IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne said the country cannot afford to have these “little air forces” doing their own things.
Defence Minister A K Antony had played down the tussle,saying it was a “family problem” and the government was in the final stages of resolving the matter.
As per its plans,the Army wants to raise attack chopper squadrons as part of its strike corps and then raise them at every corps level.