The first four of 15 Boeing CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters ordered by Indian Air Force (IAF) arrived at Mundra Port in the western Indian state of Gujarat on 10 February.
According to Boeing in a statement, the Chinooks were delivered ahead of the scheduled and that they will be assembled at Mundra and subsequently ferried to their home base at Chandigarh, located about 250 kilometers north of the Indian capital, New Delhi.
These CH-47F helicopters will thereafter be formally inducted into IAF service later this year. The helicopters are expected to replace the IAF’s fleet of Soviet-era Mil Mi-26 ‘Halo’ heavy-lift helicopters, which entered service in the 1980s.
Boeing statement also highlighted that the remaining 11 Chinooks will similarly be delivered to the IAF by March 2020.
Boeing sources reveal that 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), according to IAF officials.