IAF inducts heavy-lift Chinook choppers, Dhanoa calls it 'game-changer'

The all-weather capable helicopter which serves armed forces of 19 countries will also augment the disaster relief to far-flung crises hit areas.

Published: 25th March 2019 03:35 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th March 2019 07:23 PM   |  A+A-

Chinook, IAF, Chinook helicopter

CH-47F (I) Chinook helicopter during its induction into the Indian Air Force at Air Force Station Chandigarh Monday. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

CHANDIGARH: The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Monday formally inducted the four US-made Chinook [CH-47F (I)] heavy-lift choppers at Air Force Station 12 Wing. 

Calling the induction a game-changer for the helicopter fleet of the IAF, Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa said, "These helicopters can carry out military operations during the night hours too giving the IAF a 24x7 battle capability. Besides Chandigarh, Dinjan in Assam will also have a unit to house Chinook."

"The country which is facing multiple security challenges will require a vertical lift capability across a diversified terrain. We operate from bases which are from sea level to very high altitude landing grounds. Chinook will give the IAF a quantum leap from transporting cargo to manoeuvring precarious high altitude locations. The aircraft is one of the best in its category. Though the Indian Air Force has been operating medium-lift helicopters MI-17 and heavy lift helicopter MI-26, the Chinook with a service ceiling of 20,000 feet will redefine heavy lift in inter-valley troop transfer, transportation of artillery guns and other heavy loads for roads organisation."

"The US-made chopper which serves armed forces of 19 countries will also augment the disaster relief to far-flung crises hit areas. It is all-weather capable and its state-of-art night vision goggles will permit all roles even by night. We have procured the Chinook with India-specific enhancements to increase our capability,’’ the chief of air staff said. 

Anupam Yadav one of the pilots who formally trained to fly Chinook for two months said, "We took a 35-hour flying training including night flying and NVG (night vision goggle) flying. This apart, we also underwent four weeks of groud training in the US. Twelve pilots and 12 flight crew were made to undergo training. Chinook is a tandem rotor helicopter which is new to IAF and thus its flying characters were totally new for us. We learnt everything from flying to tactical from the Boeing pilots. The trainers have been deployed on these machines in Afghanistan and Iraq." 

"This flying machine can take a load of eleven tonnes. The equipment which includes bulldozers, road building machines and even army guns can be carried underslung to the forward areas. Though our choppers were already equipped for this weight, we had our restrictions. As a multirole aircraft, it can take up to 24  stretchers. Close to 54 combat troopers can be transported to a forward location,’’ said another trained pilot Ashish Gahlawat.

Siddharth who is a member of the trained technical crew said that this machine has two HF antennas in
the front which have a range of 1000 kilometres.  

India now becomes the 19th country in the world to make use of these helicopters which are vital in carrying out high-altitude transport operations.  

Once Rafales come, Pakistan will not come anywhere near the LoC: Dhanoa

Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said, "When the Rafale aircraft come, the deterrence of our air defence will increase manifold and then they (Pakistan) will not come anywhere near the LoC or the international border, with the kind of capability that we will possess, for which presently Pakistan don't have an answer.’’

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