The Indian Air Force (IAF) has formally inducted the first four CH-47F(I) Chinook multi-mission heavy-lift transport helicopters as part of its modernisation efforts.
India is acquiring 15 Chinook and 22 Apache attack helicopters from Boeing under a $3bn deal agreed in 2015.
The helicopters have been customised to meet India-specific requirements and will be able to carry up to 10t, including troops, artillery guns, ammunition and other equipment across the full spectrum of combat and humanitarian missions.
CH47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters will eventually replace the IAF 126 Helicopter Flight squadron’s Russian-made Mi-26 helicopters.
Boeing’s Chinook aircraft can be deployed at high-altitude locations along the border between India and Pakistan.
The induction comes amidst tension between the two neighbouring countries following airstrikes conducted by the IAF inside Pakistan’s territory, targeting terrorist camps that were allegedly training militants to launch attacks in India.
IAF chief of air staff air chief marshal Dhanoa was quoted by media sources as saying: “The induction of the CH-47F(I) Chinooks is an asset to the Indian Air Force’s airlift capabilities. This modern, multi-mission-capable, heavy-lift transport helicopter will enhance our heli-lift capability across all types of terrain to full effect.”
In October last year, the first batch of Indian pilots underwent training in the US to fly the Chinook helicopters.
Boeing defence, space and security India vice-president Michael Koch said: “With its advanced capabilities and versatility, we are confident that the CH-47F(I) Chinook will be an important asset to the IAF.”
The company delivered the first helicopter to Indian officials during a ceremony held last month in Philadelphia, US.
The highly manoeuvrable helicopter offers all-weather capabilities and comprises a fully integrated digital cockpit management system, common aviation architecture cockpit and advanced cargo-handling capabilities.