IAF for 12 more Chee­tals

SP's MAI - - SP’S EXCLUSIVES -

With the re­con­nais­sance and sur­veil­lance heli­copter (RSH) com­pe­ti­tion de­layed in­ter­minably, the IAF has de­cided to con­tract for 12 Chee­tal he­li­copters as a stop-gap for its lo­gis­tics sup­ply forces in north­ern Ladakh. The Chee­tal cre­ated a world record for high al­ti­tude land­ings at Saser Kangri in Novem­ber 2004 af­ter which it was first made avail­able to the In­dian mil­i­tary.

A re-en­gined ver­sion of the Aerospa­tiale Alou­ette-II/Chee­tah, Hin­dus­tan Aero­nau­tics Lim­ited (HAL) will build the dozen he­li­copters on a fast-track ba­sis—the sec­ond such sup­ply or­der from the IAF for the souped up light heli­copter. The Chee­tal had ini­tially been met with some skep­ti­cism by the In­dian mil­i­tary—ow­ing mainly to the de­mand for a new trans­mis­sion sys­tem fail­ing to find its way into the fi­nal prod­uct. How­ever, fol­low­ing cer­tain field tri­als, the Army and IAF both ap­pear con­vinced that the Chee­tal is a vi­able stop­gap ahead of the new RSH units, a de­ci­sion on which, could be taken this fi­nan­cial year. HAL is also de­vel­op­ing a light util­ity heli­copter to ad­dress a re­quire­ment of 184 he­li­copters for all three ser­vices.

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