IAF’s oldest helicopter Chetak to mark 60 years in action next month | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

IAF’s oldest helicopter Chetak to mark 60 years in action next month

ByRahul Singh, New Delhi
Mar 29, 2022 12:32 AM IST

IAF inducted the French-origin helicopters, called Aloutte III, in 1962. State-run plane maker Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) delivered the first licence-produced Chetak (Aloutte III) to IAF in 1965.

The workhorse of the Indian Air Force and its oldest helicopter, Chetak, is set to complete 60 years in service next month, and the IAF will celebrate the chopper’s diamond jubilee at Hakimpet Air Force Station near Secunderabad on April 2 and 3, officials familiar with matter said on Monday on condition of anonymity.

The workhorse of the Indian Air Force and its oldest helicopter, Chetak, is set to complete 60 years in service next month.
The workhorse of the Indian Air Force and its oldest helicopter, Chetak, is set to complete 60 years in service next month.

IAF inducted the French-origin helicopters, called Aloutte III, in 1962. State-run plane maker Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) delivered the first licence-produced Chetak (Aloutte III) to IAF in 1965.

Now catch your favourite game on Crickit. Anytime Anywhere. Find out how

The event will also mark the 60th anniversary of the IAF’s Helicopter Training School (HTS), which was set up on April 2, 1962, at Air Force Station, Palam, and relocated to Hakimpet in 1973, said one of the officials cited above. In between, HTS was also based at Allahabad and Jodhpur.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh and IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari will attend the function being held at Hakimpet, a second official said.

The last Chetak helicopter was delivered to the air force by HAL in March 2021, said a third official.

The Chetak, a two-tonne helicopter, has a maximum speed of 185kmph and a range of 500km. The single-engine helicopter can carry seven people, including two pilots.

The Chetak is operated by each of the three services and the coast guard as well, and has been military’s workhorse for decades, but the ageing helicopter’s safety record has come under scrutiny after a spate of recent crashes. It is now due for replacement along with the Cheetah helicopter fleet operated by the air force and the army.

Around 15 Chetak and Cheetah helicopters have crashed in the past 10 to 12 years, killing several pilots.

The Chetak has a special place in India’s aviation history. It has been used for training pilots at HTS and has been the backbone of the rotary wing fleets of the services as well as in civil aviation, said Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur (retd), former additional director general, Centre for Air Power Studies.

“The Chetak has been used for VIP flying, military operations, casualty evacuation, and relief missions. Easy to fly and maintain, it is versatility personified and every pilot’s favourite. Having done 60 years, it is time to retire it gracefully and induct a more modern machine like the light utility helicopter (LUH),” Bahadur added.

The Chetak’s design and compactness have made it the platform of choice for landing in restricted areas in diverse terrains and on warships as well, said the first official.

“It has also been a reliable basic trainer for novice helicopter pilots of the services,” the official said.

India plans to replace the Chetaks and Cheetahs with the indigenous LUH. After wrapping up rigourous flight testing of prototype helicopters in challenging conditions, HAL has set August 2022 as the deadline for carrying out the maiden test flight of the first chopper in the LUH limited series production.

Last November, India’s Defence Acquisition Council cleared the purchase of locally produced military hardware worth 7,965 crore, including 12 LUH for the army and the air force.

HAL expects the army and IAF to place combined orders for at least 187 light helicopters in the coming years — 126 for the army and 61 for the IAF.

Currently, the Chetak and Cheetah helicopters are a critical lifeline for troops in high-altitude areas, including the Siachen glacier. HAL has licence-produced 625 Chetak and Cheetah choppers.

Get World Cup ready with Crickit! From live scores to match stats, catch all the action here. Explore now!

See more

Get Current Updates on India News, Budget 2024, Weather Today along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, June 20, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On