Boeing has delivered the first CH-47F Chinook helicopter to the Indian Air Force (IAF) during a ceremony at Boeing’s facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Feb. 1.
The ceremony was attended by Harsh Vardhan Shringla, India’s Ambassador to the USA; Air Marshal Amit Dev, Director General Air (Ops) from Air HQ (Vayu Bhawan); Sandeep Chakravorty, Consul General of India in New York and Air Cmde P.V. Shivanand, Air Attache at Embassy of India, Washington DC.
The first batch of helicopters will start arriving in India from March 2019 onwards and IAF crew made up of Mi-26 and Mi-17 helicopter pilots are already receiving training at U.S.-based facilities.
In 2015, India had placed the order, worth $3.1 billion, for 22 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, and 15 CH-47F(I) Chinook transport helicopters to be procured for its Air Force from Boeing though U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route. Additionally, six Apaches were cleared for purchase for the Indian Army in 2017.
In July last year, the first CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopter built for the IAF conducted its maiden flight at the company’s Chinook assembly facility. The IAF’s AH-64E Apache attack helicopter also performed its maiden flight in the same month. One delivered, India is the 14th nation to operate Apache and 19th nation to operate Chinook in its forces.
The CH-47F is an advanced multi-mission helicopter for the U.S. Army and international defense forces. It contains a fully integrated, digital cockpit management system, Common Aviation Architecture Cockpit (CAAC) and advanced cargo-handling capabilities that complement the aircraft’s mission performance and handling characteristics.
Currently, the Indian helicopter fleet is made up of mostly Russian platforms such as Mil Mi-17 utility helicopters, Mi- 26 heavy-lift helicopters and Mi-24 attack helicopters.
India spent more than $100 billion on buying new weapons and systems during 2008-17, with imports accounting for around 60-65% of the country’s military requirements. At $15 billion, military purchases from the US have consumed more than a fourth of the total capital expenditure for the last decade. This include procurement of C-130J Super Hercules special operations aircraft, C-17 Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft, P-8I Neptune maritime patrol aircraft, Harpoon missiles and M777 howitzers.