The Indian Air Force (IAF) inducted the first four CH-47F (I) Chinook helicopters into its fleet of aircraft at the Air Force Station, Chandigarh, where one of the two helicopter units to be equipped with the new aircraft will be stationed.
Taking part in the induction ceremony, Air Chief B S Dhanoa said that Chinook will be a game changer the way the Rafale is going to be in the fighter fleet.
The IAF had signed a contract with Boeing in September 2015 for 15 Chinook helicopters. The first batch of four helicopters has been delivered on schedule and the last batch is to be delivered by March next year. These helicopters will be deployed in the Northern and Eastern regions of India.
Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa said that while one helicopter unit of Chinooks will be stationed in Chandigarh to cater to the northern region, the second one will be stationed in Dinjan in Assam.
The four Chinook helicopters, put on display at the ceremony, have been commissioned into the IAF’s 126 Helicopter Unit (HU). The Air Chief received symbolic keys of the helicopter from the president of Boeing India, Salil Gupte and handed it over to the Commanding Officer-designate of the helicopter unit.
The CH-47F is an advanced multi-mission helicopter and contains a fully integrated, digital cockpit management system, common aviation architecture and advanced cargo-handling capabilities that enhance the aircraft’s mission performance and handling characteristics.
It is used by the US Army, US Army Reserve, National Guard and by the armed forces of more than 19 countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Japan, Italy, Greece, Spain, South Korea, Australia and the United Arab Emirates.
Addressing the gathering, the Air Chief Marshal, said, “Our country faces a multitude of security challenges, we require vertical lift capability across a very diversified terrain.” He said the IAF operates from bases which are from sea-level to very high altitude advance landing grounds.
“The helicopter will give the IAF quantum leap in terms of ability to transport cargo to precarious high altitude locations. The aircraft is one of its best in its category,” he said. The all-weather aircraft can also be used for humanitarian and disaster relief operations and in missions such as transportation of relief supplies and mass evacuation of refugees.