Chandigarh: Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa on Monday formally inducted four US-made advanced multi-mission all-weather Chinook helicopters at Air Force Station 12 Wing in Chandigarh.
Two hangars and logistics facilities were created here for the Chinook helicopters.
Each Chinook helicopter, manufactured by US aerospace major Boeing, has a payload capacity of about 10 tonne, which is a major boost to India’s strategic airlift capability.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) received its first CH-47F (I) Chinook on February 10 at the Mundra port in Gujarat.
The Chinook will be used to move troops, artillery, ammunition, supplies and equipment on the battlefield. Besides, they can be used for medical evacuation.
“Our country faces a multitude of security challenges and we require a vertical-airlift capability for a very diversified terrain. The Chinook will give the IAF a quantum leap to transport cargo to precarious high-altitude locations,” Dhanoa told reporters after the induction ceremony.
He said the Chinooks were procured with India-specific enhancements to increase their flexibility for heli-lift operations like search, rescue operations and air ambulance.
The aircraft is all-weather capable and state-of-the-art night vision goggles will permit all operations even at night, he informed.
“Although we have been operating the medium lift Mi-17 and heavy lift Mi-26 helicopters, the Chinook, with its operating ceiling of 20,000 feet, will redefine heli-lift not only in operations such as inter-valley transport of troops, airlifting artillery guns and heavy under slung loads for the Border Roads Organisation, but also for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to far-flung crisis hit areas,” he said.
A confident Dhanoa added that the IAF’s expertise would enable it to exploit the machine’s potential in a manner that will make it a game changer in heli-lift operations.
India had signed a deal with the US in September 2015 for 15 Chinook helicopters at an outlay of Rs88.45 billion (Dh4.7 billion).
Salil Gupte, India head of Boeing, said the Chinooks were delivered ahead of the scheduled time.
The IAF had sent 15 pilots and 15 engineers to the United States in 2018 for training on the Chinooks.
According to Boeing, the Chinook had an unsurpassed ability to deliver heavy payloads to high altitudes, and is eminently suitable for operations in the high Himalayas.
The aircraft was battle-tested in diverse, extreme conditions throughout the world, and had proven capability to operate in the wide range of conditions that typify the Indian subcontinent, it added.