Initially proposed in the year 2006, the heavy lift Chinook helicopter that can deftly transport artillery guns in peaks will finally be introduced into the Indian Air Force next week. Also, four of the 15 choppers to be bought will be commissioned on March 25 despite escalated tensions with rivals Pakistan.
The heavy lift helicopters which sport a killer look will join Indian Army’s battle potentials as they can transport soldiers and the newly inducted M777 Howitzer guns to altitudes in mortal combat locations.
Another big information is that the CH-47 Chinook is an American helicopter manufactured by Boeing and India splashed a $3 billion (estimated at Rs 20,600 crore at today’s exchange rate) deal in 2015. Interestingly, the USA used the very same chopper to take down Bin Laden.
IAF had earlier been using the Mi-26 heavy-lift helicopters since 1987, but now it needed a replacement.
As a result, introducing these helicopters will uplift India’s capabilities considering the requirement of quick transportation of troops in higher altitudes along the Line of Control and the China frontier along with artillery guns.
It should be noted that the first batch of the four helicopters will be based in Chandigarh. The CAG also raised some questions on the preference of Chinook since its parameters were a bit lower than the Mi26.
“Audit noted that though the existing Mi-26 helicopters were to be replaced with new HLH, the parameters formulated for procurement were much lower. The max payload capacity was reduced to 11000 kgs as against the 20000 kgs of Mi 26 helicopters.
Seating capacity was also reduced to 45 troops as against the 82 troops of Mi-26 helicopters. The max underslung load was reduced to 10,000 kgs as against the underslung load capacity of 20,000 kgs of Mi-26 helicopter,” the CAG stated in its report.
The other batch of Chinook helicopters is expected to be delivered by March 2020 permitting India to deploy them both for Pakistan and China operations.
Later this year, the Indian Air Force is also expected to induct the Apache attack helicopters keeping in mind the two front threats of China and Pakistan.