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Indian Air Force inducts combat-ready Chinook helicopters

Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa inducted the twin rotor chopper today morning. It is expected to greatly enhance India’s capabilities across a range of military & HADR missions.

ET Online|
Updated: Mar 25, 2019, 05.37 PM IST
Indian Air Force inducts combat-ready Chinook helicopters
The IAF's Chinook in flight. Image copyright: Boeing India
NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force has formally inducted Monday four US-made Chinook heavy-lift helicopters at Chandigarh's Air Force Station 12 Wing. The India specific CH- 47F (I) is a heavy lift, tandem rotor helicopter which currently serves the armed forces of 19 countries.

Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa inducted the twin rotor chopper today morning. Incidentally the Indian Air Force received its first CH-47F (I) Chinook on February 10 at the Mundra port in Gujarat. The helicopter is expected to greatly enhance India’s capabilities across a range of military & HADR missions.

"Our country faces a multitude of security challenges and we require a vertical-airlift capability for a very diversified terrain. The Chinook will give the IAF a quantum leap to transport cargo to precarious high-altitude locations," Dhanoa told reporters after the induction ceremony.

He said the Chinooks were procured with India specific enhancements to increase their flexibility for heli-lift operations like search, rescue operations and air ambulance.

The aircraft is all-weather capable and state-of-the-art night vision goggles will permit all operations even at night, he informed.

"Although we have been operating the medium lift Mi-17 and heavy lift Mi-26 helicopters, the Chinook, with its operating ceiling of 20,000 feet, will redefine heli-lift not only in operations like inter-valley transport of troops, airlifting artillery guns and heavy under slung loads for the Border Roads Organisation, but also for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to far-flung crisis hit areas," he said.

As ET had reported in July 2018, the Chinook is an iconic twin rotor chopper. It is a battle proven machine that has flown countless missions into warzones from Vietnam to Afghanistan and Iraq. While the original Chinook first flew in 1962, it has undergone several upgrades and is now one of the most modern heavy lift choppers in the world.

This massive helicopter can carry 9.6 tons of cargo, including heavy machinery, artillery guns and even light armoured vehicles to high altitude. Suited for mountain operations, the Chinook is highly maneuverable and can get in and out of tight valleys. Its missions range from ferrying troops to disaster relief operations.

The Chinook will not only augment air force’s heavy lift capability for military tasks but is a vital addition for the construction of strategic roads and infrastructure projects on the border. The Border Roads Organisation has been waiting in particular for the Chinook to complete road building projects in the North East that have been stuck for years for want of a heavy lift chopper that can carry material and equipment through narrow valleys.

Chinook is one of the two helicopters other than the Apache attack choppers for which India had signed deals in 2015-16. The supplies of Apaches will also start by September this year when they start arriving at the Pathankot airbase.

(With inputs from IANS)

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