Chinooks to be based at Chandigarh
Boeing CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters being acquired by the Indian Air Force are to be based at the Chandigarh Air Force Station, “for which new facilities are being established”, according to reports. The GoI had signed a contract with the US in September 2015 for 15 CH-47 Chinook helicopters, with an option for another four, the first of which are expected to arrive in 2018. There is a parallel contract for 22 Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters.
“A certain number of Chinooks will be based in Chandigarh,” a senior IAF officer said. “Two hangars and a maintenance bay along with associated technical and logistics facilities are to be set up here for the purpose.” CH-47F Chinooks, with a payload capacity of around 10 tonnes will augment the IAF’s vertical heavy-lift capability, which role was earlier fulfilled by the Soviet-era Mi-26 helicopters, also based at Chandigarh. The Chinooks will heli-lift artillery guns, vehicles, road construction and engineer equipment as well as troops and supplies to mountainous sectors particularly in the north and north-east.