CHANDIGARH: The US made CH-47F (I) Chinook an advanced multi-mission heavy-lift helicopter will be formally inducted in the Indian Air Force (IAF) on March 25 (Monday) at an induction ceremony which has been planned at the 3-BRD (Base Repair Depot) here.
As per highly placed sources the IAF Chief, Air Chief Marshal BS Dha air officer commanding-in-chief (AOC-in-C) Western Air Command Air Marshal R Nambiar are expected to attend this ceremony here.
But there is no confirmation of defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman whether she will be attending this function or not due to the model code of conduct in place because of Lok Sabha elections.
Four of these advanced double-rotor helicopters which would help the armed forces in combat operations and transportation of the troops recently reached the 3-BRD base in Chandigarh for assembly. The IAF would get fifteen of these helicopters as per the deal with the US.
With their induction, the air force's capability to deliver payloads to high altitudes will enhance as presently Soviet-origin Mi-26 chopper is carrying out such operations which is the world's heaviest helicopter. Since 1986 the IAF has four Mi-26 based at the 3-BRD base here.
Of these, one crashed a few years ago and of the remaining three only one is operational. The Chinook's primary roles include artillery, battlefield resupply and transportation of troops.
The entire airframe of this new twin-engine flying machine has a high degree of ballistics tolerance.
The internal cabin volume is sufficient for transporting fully equipped infantry soldiers for specialized operations and artillery guns and other equipment, as it has a carrying capacity of 11 tonnes and 45 troops. The total cost of acquisition for Chinook helicopters has been worked out to be Rs 8,845 crore.
"Seven Chinook helicopters are expected to be based in Chandigarh which is a strategically-important transport aircraft base for the troops deployed in high altitude areas of Jammu and Kashmir especially Leh,'' said an officer.