Air Force Station, Chandigarh, is preparing the infrastructure to house the CH-47 (I) Chinook helicopters Squadron which will be based there.
The first four Chinook helicopters arrived in India at the Mundra port in Gujarat in semi-knocked down condition.
These should be reaching Chandigarh by the first week of March and reassembled. An induction ceremony for the helicopters in fully flying condition is likely to take place at the end of March. India has ordered a total of 15 Chinook helicopters from the US.
Named after American Indian tribe, Chinook, one squadron of the helicopters will be stationed in Chandigarh Air Force Station and another in Mohanbari in the North East. The IAF had started training pilots on the new helicopter since October 2018 at Delaware in the US.
The powerful twin rotor helicopter will increase the strategic lift capabilities of the IAF along with the remaining Russian MI-26 helicopters, which were earlier stationed in Chandigarh but now shifted.
“Chinook helicopters were introduced in 1962 by Boeing as CH-47 and models A, B and C were deployed in Vietnam. As the product of a modernisation programme, which included refurbishing existing CDH-47s, the first CH-47Ds were delivered in 1982 and were produced till 1994.
A central element in the gulf war, they continue to be the standard for the US Army in the global campaign against terrorism. Since its introduction, 1,179 Chinooks have been built,” as per the Boeing website on Chinook.
The Chinook is a multi-mission, heavy lift transport helicopter. Its primary mission is to move troops, ammunition, underslung guns, fuel, water, barrier materials, supplies and equipment on the battlefield. Its secondary missions include medical evacuation, disaster relief, search and rescue, aircraft recovery, firefighting, parachuted drops, heavy construction and civil development.
The repair works at the hangars to house these strategic lift twin rotor helicopters have been underway at full swing. “These repairs and refurbishments, which were necessary for the new helicopters, are almost complete and we expect the hangars to be ready by end of February,” a senior officer said.
Among the repair works that are being executed in the air force station, the new flooring of hangars has been done and an anti-static coating is also being done on the floor.
The annexes of the hangar are also being re-floored and false ceiling work is being executed. Electricity fitments which meet the American standards, as they are different than those of India, are also being re-done, say sources.
Senior IAF officers from the Western Air Command have been keeping close tabs on the ongoing work. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman along with the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa, and other senior officers of the IAF, senior executives from Boeing and US diplomats are expected to preside over the induction ceremony in Chandigarh.