Indian Air Force inducts Boeing CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift choppers

IAF chief BS Dhanoa said induction of Chinook will be a game changer

The Indian Air Force inducted the first unit of four US-made Chinook heavy-lift helicopters on Monday. .

The first four of the 15 CH-47F (I) Chinook helicopters, which were ordered from Boeing in September 2015, were commissioned into the IAF’s 126 Helicopter Unit (HU) at a ceremony held in Chandigarh.

Twelve Indian Air Force pilots and as many flight engineers underwent special training in the US to operate Chinook heavy-lift helicopters, which were inducted into the Indian Air Force or IAF on Monday.

After inducting the helicopters, IAF chief BS Dhanoa said induction of Chinook will be a game changer the way the Rafale is going to be in the fighter fleet.

Senior IAF officers present at the event said the combination of Mi-26 chopper and Chinooks in a single unit will give the 126 HU an unmatched air mobility capability never replicated anywhere in the world, directly contributing to the operational preparedness and potential of the Indian armed forces.

IAF pilot Anupam Yadav, who underwent the special training in the US for flying the chopper, said, “This is the first tandem-rotor helicopter inducted into the Air Force, its flying characteristics were new for us. For this, experienced pilots of Boeing helped us, they had operational exposure as they had been deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

The helicopter is capable of transporting 54 troops at a time and take the Army artillery guns right up to forward post in an assembled state, he said.

“The aircraft’s ceiling altitude is 6 km (nearly 20,000 feet), but will depend on factors like temperature, etc,” he said.

“Helicopters in India have tail rotor configuration, but it (Chinook which has tandem rotor) requires different kind of input during initial hours of flying,” Mr Yadav said.

Describing the heavy-lift chopper, the IAF took to Twitter and said it will “greatly enhance” the force’s relief and management capabilities.

India has paid close to $1.5 billion for the 15 Chinook helicopters, which would be also used for deploying troops and machinery at high-altitude locations.

Here are five things you should know about the Chinook.

  • The CH-47F (I) Chinook is a heavy lift, tandem rotor helicopter that serves armed forces of 19 countries.
  • Each Chinook can carry goods and cargo weighing up to 9.6 tonnes.
  • The cargo can include men and machines such as artillery guns and light armoured vehicles.
  • Chinook is suited for operations in the Himalayas and has the capability to ferry heavy cargo like road construction equipment over difficult terrain.
  • The Chinook contains a fully integrated, Digital Cockpit Management System, Common Aviation Architecture Cockpit and advanced cargo-handling capabilities.

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