The Indian Air Force (IAF) is the 4th largest air force of the world. In terms of personnel and aircraft assets the IAF ranks third in the world. Its primary mission is to secure Indian airspace. They also conduct rescue missions during emergencies. To conduct rescue operations IAF needs powerful and versatile helicopters. In this article we are going to tell you about the helicopters of the Indian Air Force.
What are helicopters ?
A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by horizontally spinning rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forward, backward and laterally. These attributes allow helicopters to be used in congested or isolated areas where fixed-wing aircraft and many forms of Short TakeOff and Landing or Short TakeOff and Vertical Landing aircraft cannot perform without a runway.
List of helicopters of the Indian Air Force :-
|HAL Light Combat Helicopter||India||Attack||3|
|Boeing AH-64 Apache||United States||Attack||22|
|HAL Rudra||India||Armed Utility||16|
|CH-47 Chinook||United States||Heavy transport||15|
|Mil Mi-17||Russia||Utility transport||223|
|HAL Light Utility Helicopter||India||Utility||187|
|HAL Chetak||France / India||Light utility||77|
|HAL Cheetah||France / India||Light utility||17|
HAL Light Combat Helicopters
The HAL Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) is an Indian multi-role attack helicopter designed and manufactured by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The LCH has been ordered by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Army. Its flight ceiling is the highest among all attack helicopters
On 19 November 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi formally handed over the LCH to IAF Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari, clearing way for full scale induction.
Boeing AH-64 Apache
The Boeing AH-64 Apache is an American twin-turboshaft attack helicopter with a tailwheel-type landing gear arrangement and a tandem cockpit for a crew of two.
The Indian Air Force has inducted 22 AH-64 Apache helicopters as of July 2020 while 6 are currently under order.
Mil Mi-24 Helicopters
The Mil Mi-24 is a large helicopter gunship, attack helicopter and low-capacity troop transport with room for eight passengers. It is produced by Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant. The IAF currently operates two Mi-25/35 Helicopter Squadrons named No.104 Firebirds and No.125 Gladiators and has a requirement for at least another unit.
The HAL Rudra, also known as ALH-WSI, is an armed version of the HAL Dhruv utility helicopter which is designed and produced by the Indian aerospace manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
The IAF has 16 aircraft in service and another 50 are under order. The Indian Army has 75 aircraft and 25 more are in order.
The Boeing CH-47 Chinook is a tandem rotor helicopter developed by American rotorcraft company Vertol and manufactured by Boeing Vertol. The Chinook is a heavy-lift helicopter that is among the heaviest lifting Western helicopters.
Currently around 15 CH-47 Chinook helicopters are serving the IAF.
The Mil Mi-17 is a Soviet-designed Russian military helicopter family introduced in 1975. Continuing in production as of 2021 at two factories, in Kazan and Ulan-Ude. It is known as the Mi-8M series in Russian service. The helicopter is mostly used as a medium twin-turbine transport helicopter, as well as an armed gunship version.
In May 1999, during Operation Safed Sagar, the Mi-17 was used in the first air phase of the Kargil War. against Pakistanis.
Currently India has 223 Mi-17 helicopters in service.
The HAL Dhruv is a utility helicopter designed and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The development of HAL Dhruv was announced in November 1984. The name comes from a Sanskrit origin word dhruv which means unshakeable or firm.
As of January 2022, 335 HAL Dhruv have been produced for domestic and export markets logging more than 340,000 flying hours.
Currently around 107 HAL Dhruv helicopters are serving India.
HAL Light Utility Helicopters
The HAL Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) along with its derivative Light Observation Helicopter (LOH) was designed and developed by Rotary Wing Research and Design Centre one of the R&D sections of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for civilian and military applications. These are intended to replace licence-built versions of Aérospatiale SA 315B Lama ( and Aérospatiale Alouette III in service with the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force.
Total 187 helicopters are planned out of which 126 LUH is planned for the Indian Army with the remaining 61 for the Indian Air Force. Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) on 2 November 2021 approved purchase of 12 Limited Series Production (LSP) variants of LUH.
Under a licensing arrangement between Aérospatiale and Indian aircraft manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the Alouette III has been built under licence by HAL in India. Known locally under the designation HAL Chetak.
More than 300 rotorcraft have been manufactured to date. These were acquired for military purposes with the Indian Armed Forces. HAL Chetak was used in Operation Khukri which was a multinational operation launched in the United Nations Assistance Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), involving India, Ghana, Britain and Nigeria.
The helicopters have been built under licence by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in India, known as the Cheetah; HAL later developed an upgraded variant, powered by the Turbomeca TM 333-2M2 engine, which is known as the Cheetal. An armed version, marketed as the Lancer, was also produced by HAL.
Currently Indian Armed Forces have 17 of these Light Utility helicopters.
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References from :- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_active_Indian_military_aircraft