India has received the first of 15 Boeing CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters during a ceremony at the manufacturer's production facility in Philadelphia.
The event on 1 February marked the commencement of deliveries to the Indian Air Force (IAF) that are set to run through to 2023. With this first helicopter having been formally accepted in the US, the IAF's Chinooks are expected to be shipped to Mundra Port on India's west coast in March before being flown to their future operational base at Chandigarh in the far north of the country.
India signed its government-to-government deal with the US in September 2015, with the USD1.1 billion contract covering 15 Chinooks plus the option for a further seven.
Once operational, the Chinooks will replace the three Mil Mi-26 'Halo' heavy-lift helicopters that the IAF received from the then-Soviet Union in 1986. While the Mi-26 can lift heavier loads than the Chinook, the latter helicopter has more of a multirole capability and should boost the IAF's overall rotary-lift capabilities while enhancing its capacity to assist in domestic and regional humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.
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