SOURCE: Anand SG / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
Recent crash of Indian Air Force ALH Druv Helicopter in Arunachal Pradesh while aiding local administration at the time of Arunachal Floods some time fails to gauge the risk a Helicopter crew takes while flying in toughest terrain in our eastern sector where bad weather is 365-day affair and dense jungle and high altitudes test best of the skills of the Man-Machine combination when flying in this extreme conditions .
Not only Helicopters are a lifeline but also sometimes only means of transportation to reach the eastern side of the India which still has poor road mobility and if the need arises for emergency Military Redeployment or when pressed into service in case of civil disaster, Helicopter is frontline assets which will be deployed on this side of India .
India recent order for 15 Boeing CH-47F Chinook which is tried and tested heavy-lift and high-altitude transporter for military and humanitarian operations is certainly suited for India’s vast eastern sector which has vast distances, austere environments and high altitudes.
Chinook has unsurpassed ability to deliver heavy payloads in the higher altitudes and is eminently suitable for operations in the eastern region’s high mountains which also comes handy for operations on the North-western side of Kashmir region. Chinook can transport 35 seated troops and can also be used to carry out evacuation for 24 casualties.
CH-47F Chinook can operate in temperature, altitudes, cross winds and adverse conditions which typically keep other helicopters from flying. Chinook which India has ordered comes with Digital Automatic Flight Control System (DAFCS) which enables Pilots to conduct missions which they previously would not have attempted. DAFCS allows pilots to pick a spot on the ground and let the helicopter fly to that point in hands-off approach and let helicopter move less than a metre laterally or vertically.
With more than 1100 Chinooks produced and more than 875 of them still operational with 18 countries around the world and still getting repeat orders from its current operators after being in production from 1961, Chinook is a testament to its unsurpassed capabilities and it is likely it will carry the same tradition when inducted into Indian Air Force from 2019 on wards and many more of the later version are ordered in the future .