NATIONAL

Chinook will improve reaction capabilities, says IAF chief

Adding muscle:Air Force personnel with the Chinook heavy lift helicopter in Chandigarh on Monday.AKHILESH KUMAR

Adding muscle:Air Force personnel with the Chinook heavy lift helicopter in Chandigarh on Monday.AKHILESH KUMAR  

The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Monday inducted the first batch of four Chinook CH-47F(I) heavy-lift helicopters, which will significantly improve airlift to high-altitude areas.

“The induction of Chinook will be a game changer... This modern, multi-mission-capable, heavy-lift transport helicopter will enhance our heli-lift capability across all types of terrain to the full effect,” Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa said at the ceremony at the Air Force Station in Chandigarh.

The service ceiling of 20,000 feet would redefine heavy lift not just in operations but also for inter-valley transport and the artillery.

These helicopters will be deployed in northern and eastern regions, the IAF said. Besides Chandigarh, another unit will be created at Dinjan in Assam.

India finalised a contract for 15 Boeing Chinook helicopters in September 2015. The first batch arrived at the Mundra Port in Gujarat in February this year.

All helicopters will be delivered by March next year.

The first batch of 12 pilots and as many flight engineers underwent training in the U.S. in October 2018.

A shot in the arm

The Chinook CH-47F(I) heavy-lift helicopters can carry a maximum payload of 11 tonnes and 54 combat-ready troops or 24 stretcher patients. The Army’s recently inducted M-777 Ultra-Light Howitzers can also be carried to forward areas.

This will significantly improve the rapid reaction capabilities along the western and eastern borders.

“The Chinook heavylift helicopter has been customised to suit our requirements...,” the IAF said in a statement.

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