New Delhi: To take on Pakistan and China in high altitude terrain, Indian Air Force is going to induct heavy-lift Chinook helicopter. 

These twin-engine American helicopters are capable of carrying artillery and other heavy equipment along with fuel to far-flung areas along the borders.

The IAF will commission first four of its 15 Chinook helicopters in their fleet in Chandigarh on March 25. The induction of these helicopters will bound to make Pakistan and Chinese army uncomfortable as it will give swift access to the forces. These choppers, which can manoeuvre in narrow areas, will make it easy for army personnel to carry artillery guns to difficult-high altitude terrains.  

Also read: India acquires Chinook choppers: Why these helicopters are a major boost to Air Force

The commissioning of the heavy -lift Chinook helicopter is also significant as it can transport newly inducted M777 Howitzer guns in high-altitude area near the borders of Pakistan and China. Since 1987, the job of the heavy lifting was being done by the Soviet-origin Mi-26s. However, the IAF has only four of Mi-26 out of which only one is in service now.

IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa would be inducting the planes into the force. India has paid close to USD 1.5 billion for 15 of these helicopters, that will be manufactured by Boeing. Chinook is one of the two helicopters other than the Apache attack choppers for which India had signed deals in 2015-16. The supplies of Apaches will also start by September this year when they start arriving at the Pathankot airbase. The first batch of four Chinook helicopters arrived by sea at Mundra Port in Gujarat on February 10. 

When will the Chinooks arrive?

These helicopters are an advanced multi-mission helicopter that will provide the Indian armed forces with unmatched strategic airlift capability across the full spectrum of combat and humanitarian missions. The IAF currently has 15 Chinook helicopters on order. The remaining helicopters are likely to be delivered by March 2020 allowing India to deploy them both for Pakistan and China operations.

Chinook’s multiple benefits 

These modern helicopters are not only going to add more power to IAF but are being seen as a vital plane, which will be assisting other defence forces in their military tasks. It can carry troops, artillery and supplies to unapproachable areas. It can be helpful to The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in completing road building projects in the difficult terrains of North East, which have been stuck for years for lack of supply of material through narrow valleys. 

Chinooks have a payload capacity of 10 tonnes. This multi-mission helicopter can also offer support during disaster relief, medical evacuation, search and rescue missions, aircraft recovery and parachute drops. This aircraft has been tested to function in extreme, diverse conditions across the world. The company - Boeing has produced 1,179 Chinooks so far. The helicopter is operated by a crew of three people, which includes two pilots and a flight engineer.