Two US-made tandem rotor Chinook helicopters were inducted into the IAF at a special ceremony at the Air Force Station (AFS) Chandigarh on March 25. Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa led the ceremony. The helicopter will primarily be used for transporting heavy cargo. Within a year, the total Chinook fleet will swell to 15 choppers.
The $1.5 billion purchase from US firm, Boeing, was signed in September 2015. The helicopters are expected to enhance the IAF’s relief and rescue capability, transporting heavy material to affected areas during natural disasters along with ferrying massive amounts of war material and troops in combat zones.
The Chinook has a distinctive double rotor, one at each end of the helicopter, making it arguably the world’s most recognizable helicopter. It is one of Boeing’s biggest winners, with almost 19 countries flying 900 Chinooks, more than half of those by the US military. Designed for high altitude operations – a particular requirement for Indian Army and Indian Air Force missions – the Chinook would soon replace the Russian giant, the Mi-26, the world’s largest helicopter so far.
In a conventional single rotor helicopter, 10 per cent of the engine output goes to the tail rotor, which is needed to stabilise the helicopter. But in the Chinook, the tandem rotors stabilise the helicopter, with all the engine power providing lift.