The Indian Airforce has been busy celebrating it’s 87th anniversary today. With the IAF Chief’s address to the nation, the Shastra Puja, marchpast, wreath-laying ceremony, flypast, to awarding the brave air warriors with gallantry medals being some of the highlights of the aerial extravaganza, it has indeed been quite the spectacle! So, on the occasion of air force day, SSBCrack will be examining five of the IAF’s deadliest helicopters flown by India’s air warriors.
1.) Apache Attack Helicopter
The Apache attack helicopter is widely regarded as the world most elite attack chopper and has been used extensively by the United States and Israel in their military campaigns. These famed attack uber elite attack helicopters serve as the primary attack chopper for the worlds most powerful military’s. The original Apache AH-64 was built as a four-blade, twin-engine attack chopper. The Apache boasts a 2X GE T-700 turbo-shaft engine; the chopper is armed with 16X laser-guided Hellfire missiles, Hydra general purpose 70 mm rockets and a 30 mm automatic cannon. The chopper is operated by a two-person crew comprising of a pilot and a gunner.
2.) Chinook CH-47 Heavy-Lift Helicopter
Designed by the Boeing Aerospace company, the Chinook transport helicopter is one of the worlds most superior heavy-lift choppers. The uber-sophisticated multi-mission helicopter was initially designed for the United States Army, and its military allies. India’s purchase of the Chinook gives the IAF a boost in its strategic airlift capability, enhancing its overall logistics potential. Other than cargo, the Chinooks are even used to transport Special Operations Forces Personnel and regular troops to their designated operational zones.
3.) Mil Mi-17 V5 Transport Helicopter
The Russian made Mi-17 V5 is another highly sophisticated transport helicopter in the IAF’s arsenal. The twin-turbine transport chopper is used by the IAF to transport the country’s prime minister domestically. Beyond being designated to fly the Indian head of state the Mi-17 V5 transport helicopter is used in a host of other transport and logistics roles such as transporting troops and rations to the Siachen glacier and other remote helipads. The helicopter is even used in search and rescue operations.
4.) Mil Mi 25 and Mi 35 Attack Choppers
Before the induction of the legendary Apache attack helicopter, it was the Soviet-designed Mi 25 and Mi 35 which served as the primary attack chopper in the IAF. The Mi 35 attack helicopter was inducted in April 1990 to boost the forces offensive capabilities. The chopper comes armed with a four-barrel 12.7 mm rotary gun. The attack helicopter has the capability to carry 1,500 kilograms of external ordnance including Scorpion anti-tank missiles. The highly potent Mi 35 has a maximum cruise speed of 310 km/hr.
5.) HAL Chetak Utility Helicopter
The famed HAL Chetak utility helicopter has been manufactured in India under the official licence of the Defence Public Sector Undertaking Company (DPSU) Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The soon to be replaced heptr, had been originally developed by the French-based aircraft firm Sud-Aviation with single-engine utility chopper christened as the Aerospatiale Alouette III. The Chetak has since its induction, been used extensively in Siachen and other high-altitude areas for casualty evacuation (CASEVAC), communication and liaison roles. The chopper can cruise at a maximum speed of 220 km/hr and carry six personnel or 500 kilograms of cargo load.