- Inducted in the IAF at AF Station Chandigarh today
By Brig. VK Atray
Chandigarh. 25 March 2019. Indian Air Force inducted the first four Boeing CH-47F(I) Chinook helicopters in a ceremony at Air Force Station Chandigarh in the presence of the Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa. The heavy-lift helicopters will provide strategic airlift capabilities to the IAF. New Delhi, India, March 25, 2019 – Boeing [NYSE: BA] today handed over the first four CH-47F(I) Chinooks to the Indian Air Force at an induction ceremony at the Air Force Station, Chandigarh. The ceremony was attended by the Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa, Chief of Air Staff, senior officers from the Indian Air Force and officials from Boeing.
The CH-47F(I) Chinooks arrived at the Mundra Port in Gujarat in February this year, ahead-of-schedule. “The induction of the CH-47F(I) Chinooks is an asset to the Indian Air Force’s airlift capabilities,” said Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa, Chief of Air Staff. “This modern, multi-mission-capable, heavy-lift transport helicopter will enhance our heli-lift capability across all types of terrain to full effect.”
The IAF inventory has the Dhruv which serves primarily as a light utility helicopter in the IAF. In addition to transport and utility roles, newer Dhruvs are also used as attack helicopters. The force has the Chetak which is a light utility helicopter and is used primarily for training, rescue and light transport roles in the IAF. The Chetak is being gradually replaced by Dhruv. Cheetah is another light utility helicopter used for high altitude operations. It is used for both transport and search-and-rescue missions in the IAF.
“The CH-47F(I) Chinook will prove to be a significant force multiplier for the Indian Air Force,” said Salil Gupte, president, Boeing India. “We are committed to working closely with the defense forces and government of India to deliver the right value and capabilities,” added Gupte.
Chinook will be in addition to the Mi-8 and the Mi-17, Mi-17 1V & Mi-17V 5 which are operated by the IAF for medium lift strategic and utility roles. The Mi-8 is being progressively replaced by the Mi-17 series of helicopters.
The Mi-35 serves primarily as an attack helicopter in the IAF. The Mil Mi-35 can also act as a low-capacity troop transport. The IAF currently operates 2 squadrons (No.104 Firebirds and No.125 Gladiators) of Mi-25/35s. The Mi-26 serves as a heavy lift helicopter in the IAF. It can also be used to transport troops or as a flying ambulance.
The IAF has ordered 22 Boeing AH-64E Apache attack Helicopters, 68 HAL Light Combat Helicopters(LCH),35 HAL Rudra attack Helicopters, 15 CH-47F Chinook heavy lift helicopters and 150 Mi-17V-5s to replace and augment its existing fleet.
“With its advanced capabilities and versatility, we are confident that the CH-47F(I) Chinook will be an important asset to the Indian Air Force,” said Michael Koch, vice president, India, Boeing Defense, Space & Security. “Boeing remains committed to working closely with India to support the modernization of its armed forces and fulfil the country’s current and future security goals,” added Koch.
The CH-47F(I) Chinook for the Indian Air Force completed successful first-flights in July 2018. The first batch of Indian Air Force crew began their training to fly the Chinook in the U.S. in October 2018. The Indian Ministry of Defence had finalized its order with Boeing for production, training and support of 15 CH-47F(I) Chinook helicopters in September 2015. The rest will continue to be delivered as per schedule.
The induction ended with the ceremonial cake cutting of a Chinook helicopter. And the icing on the cake today is the fact that it can carry 9.6 tons of cargo, including heavy machinery, artillery guns. Indian Air Force definitely gets a power enhancer in the Chinook.