First batch of Chinooks arrives from US
The first batch of heavy-lift Chinook helicopters arrived at Gujarat’s Mundra Port from the US on Sunday, a spokesperson of American aerospace major Boeing said.
The four Boeing CH-47F (I) Chinooks, part of a 15-helicopter order placed by India three years ago, will be assembled and flown to their home base in Chandigarh where they will be formally inducted in the Indian Air Force (IAF) later this year, two officials familiar with the matter said on the condition of anonymity.
With the addition of the Chinooks, the air force’s capability to deliver payloads to high altitudes will be enhanced as it currently has a solitary Soviet-origin Mi-26 chopper to carry out such operations, defence officials said.
“The CH-47F (I) Chinook is 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,” a Boeing release said. The Chinook’s primary roles include artillery, battlefield resupply and transportation of troops.
The United States is India’s second largest arms supplier after Russia. Since 2008, India has bought or ordered military equipment worth $15 billion from the United States, including C-130J special operations planes, C-17 transport aircraft, P-8I submarine hunter planes, Harpoon missiles, Apache and Chinook helicopters and M777 lightweight howitzers.
In September 2015, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government placed a $3.1-billion order for 22 AH-64E Apache Longbow attack helicopters – also manufactured by Boeing — and the 15 Chinooks to scale up the air force’s capabilities.