The Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) first four Chinook CH-47F helicopters that Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa inducted into the fleet on Monday will swell within a year to a fleet size of 15 choppers.
Senior IAF officers say that this $1.5-billion purchase from US firm Boeing, which was signed in September 2015, will almost certainly be followed by an additional order. Given the Chinook’s utility, both in war and in disaster relief missions in peacetime, more of these helicopters are needed for a country India’s size.
The Chinook replaces the Russian Mi-26 in the heavy lift class – the first helicopter category in which America has supplanted Russia’s dominance in India. Later this year, with the induction of Boeing’s Apache AH-64E attack helicopters, Russian Mi-35s will start being retired.
Then, if the Sikorsky MH-60 Romeo is chosen as expected as the Navy’s new multi-role helicopter (NMRH), Russia’s Kamov-28s and Kamov-31s will be shut out from a third category. Read More