Indian Army helicopter crashes in Tawang, pilot killed

The ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters are in urgent need of replacement.

October 05, 2022 01:56 pm | Updated 06:50 pm IST - New Delhi:

Rescue operation after a Cheetah helicopter of the Indian Army crashed in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh near the boundary with China on Wednesday morning.

Rescue operation after a Cheetah helicopter of the Indian Army crashed in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh near the boundary with China on Wednesday morning. | Photo Credit: PTI

An Army Aviation pilot was killed after a Cheetah helicopter on a routine sortie in the forward area near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh crashed on Wednesday morning.

“Both the pilots were evacuated to nearest Military Hospital. With regret we inform that one of the pilots who was critically injured succumbed to the injuries during treatment,” the Defence Spokesperson in Tezpur said. The second pilot is under medical treatment, he added.

The cause of the crash at this stage is not known and the details are being ascertained, the spokesperson added.

The ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters are in urgent need of replacement.

The Army Aviation currently operates around 190 Cheetah, Chetak and Cheetal helicopters, with five of them, the oldest, being over 50 years old. A bulk of the fleet, close to 130 of the 190, are between 30 to 50 years old, as reported by The Hindu earlier.

This fleet is the lifeline in transporting supplies and for evacuations in the high-altitude areas including the Siachen glacier. In addition to the Army, the Navy and IAF too operate these helicopters. For instance, the IAF has around 120 Cheetah and Chetak and around 18 of the more recent Cheetals.

As reported by The Hindu earlier, the total technical life of these helicopters will start finishing from 2023 onwards which will only further exacerbate the existing deficiencies.

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