The first four of 15 Boeing CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters on order for the Indian Air Force (IAF) arrived at Mundra Port in the western Indian state of Gujarat on 10 February.
Boeing said in a statement that the Chinooks, which were delivered from the United States four weeks ahead of schedule, will be assembled at Mundra and then ferried to their home base at Chandigarh, which is located about 250 km north of the Indian capital, New Delhi.
These helicopters are expected to be formally inducted into IAF service later this year and replace the IAF’s fleet of Soviet-era Mil Mi-26 ‘Halo’ heavy-lift helicopters, which entered service in the 1980s.
“The ahead-of-schedule arrival of the Chinooks validates Boeing’s commitment to delivering on its promise of modernising India’s defence forces,” the company said.
Boeing officials told Jane’s on 11 February that the remaining 11 Chinooks will be similarly delivered to the IAF by March 2020.
The arrival in India of the first Chinook rotorcraft followed a related ‘transfer ceremony’ held in late January at Boeing’s helicopter production facility in Philadelphia, which involved Indian military officials and diplomats from the country’s embassy in Washington.
Official sources said that the 15 Chinooks ordered in late 2015 for USD1.1 billion via a direct commercial sale agreement with Boeing will be inducted into the IAF’s 126 Helicopter Flight unit at Chandigarh.
To accommodate the Chinooks the IAF has expanded its Mi-26 helicopter facility at a cost of INR1.5billion (USD20.9 million), officials said.
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