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The Indian Army Aviation Corps, operating a fleet of nearly 200 Cheetah and Chetak helicopters dating back to the 1970s, is set to initiate their phase-out starting in 2027. These ageing helicopters will be replaced by the HAL-developed LUH (Light Utility Helicopter). In the first phase, approximately 50 Cheetah and Chetak helicopters that have exceeded their Total Technical Life (TTL) will be gradually retired. However, the remaining fleet is expected to continue in service until at least 2033, even though 70 per cent of these helicopters are over 30 years old.

Both the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Army Aviation Corps (AAC) have been using Chetak and Cheetah helicopters for various missions, including the transportation of personnel and equipment, casualty evacuation, search and rescue operations, aerial surveys, patrolling, and off-shore and under-slung military operations. The IAF and AAC collectively operate between 60 to 120 of these helicopters.

Currently, there are nearly 187 Chetak and 200 Cheetah helicopters in use by the three defence services. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has been responsible for building the engines of these helicopters since 1962 and 1977, respectively.

With the impending introduction of the HAL LUH, the Indian Army Aviation Corps is poised for a significant modernization effort that will enhance its capabilities and improve the safety of its operations.

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