The Indian Air Force (IAF) inducted the first four of the 15 US-made Chinook helicopters into its fleet at a ceremony at the Indian Air Force station in Chandigarh on Monday, 25 March.

In a tweet the IAF said that the Chinook CH-47F, which became part of the fleet today, contains a fully-Integrated, Digital Cockpit Management System, Common Aviation Architecture Cockpit and advanced cargo-handling capabilities that complement the aircraft’s mission performance and handling characteristics.

Commenting on the induction, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said, “The Chinook helicopter can carry out military operations not only during the day but at night too. Induction of Chinook will be a game changer the way Rafale is going to be in the fighter fleet.”

The ACM added that India faces multiple security challenges.

“We require vertical lift capability across a diversified terrain. Chinook has been procured with India-specific enhancements. It is a national asset,” he said, adding, “This modern, multi-mission-capable, heavy-lift transport helicopter will enhance our heli-lift capability across all types of terrain to full effect.”

ACM Dhanoa said that the next unit for the helicopters will be created for the East in Dinjan (Assam).

In a tweet, the IAF said that the first CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopter was received at Mundra port in Gujarat on 10 February.

India and the US signed a $1.5 billion deal for 15 Chinook helicopters in September 2015, when late Manohar Parrikar was the defence minister. The entire fleet will be inducted by March 2020.

The choppers can be deployed at high-altitude locations. Chinook can carry troops as well as heavy payload across terrains. They can lift the M-777 ultra-light howitzers of the Indian armed forces.

In October 2018, the first batch of four IAF pilots and an equal number of flight engineers started training on the Chinook helicopters at Delaware in the US.

Meanwhile, ACM Dhanoa also said that the Rafale will increase India’s boost the deterrence factor in India’s air defence which will prevent Pakistan from coming anywhere close to the LoC or the border.

“With the kind of capability that we will posses, for which presently they (Pak) don’t have an answer,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.

Built by Vertol and developed by Boeing, the Chinook is a twin-engine helicopter that is used by the armed forces of more than 19 countries including the UK, Canada, Japan, South Korea, UAE, Italy, Australia, Spain, the Netherlands and Greece along with the entire extension of the US armed forces.