Current Affairs 25 March 2019 Digest 3: IAF inducts 4 Chinook Helicopters; New Naval Chief appointed
The first batch of four Boeing heavy-lift Chinook Helicopters, CH-47F (I) was inducted in Indian Air Force (IAF) on March 25, 2019 at Air Force Station, Chandigarh. The Chinook helicopters arrived at the Mundra airport in Gujarat from the United States on February 10, 2019.
Story 1: Chinook Helicopters: 4 Boeing heavy-lift helicopters inducted in Indian Air Force
The first batch of four Boeing heavy-lift Chinook Helicopters, CH-47F (I) was inducted in Indian Air Force (IAF) on March 25, 2019 at Air Force Station, Chandigarh, in Squadron No 126 Helicopter Flight (Featherweights).
The Chinook helicopters arrived at the Mundra airport in Gujarat from the United States on February 10, 2019.
These multirole helicopters will be used in life-saving role during Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) missions. They will operate alongside the Russian machines. The Indian Air Force is currently using Mi-17 and Mi-26 helicopters, which were manufactured by Russia.
The remaining eleven Chinook helicopters are expected to be delivered by 2023.
• Procured from the United States, the Chinook Helicopters are expected to provide impetus to the heavy-lift capabilities of Indian Air Force (IAF) and strengthen the defence ties with the United States.
• The CH-47F (I) Chinook is an advanced multi-mission helicopter that will provide unmatched strategic airlift capability to the Indian armed forces across the full spectrum of combat missions.
• With capability of carrying around 10 tonnes of load, these helicopters will be used for lifting artillery, vehicles, battlefield resupply, road construction and engineer equipment as well as transportation of troops and supplies to mountainous sectors in North and North-East.
• These are also used for humanitarian and disaster relief operations such as transportation of relief supplies and mass evacuation of refugees.
• Chinooks have a unique twin engine and tandem rotor design, one of the most visibly recognised symbols of the American armed forces.
• Chinook has Common Aviation Architecture and advanced cargo-handling capabilities.
• The Chinook helicopter is used by 18 other defence forces around the world including Canada, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Japan, Italy, Greece, Spain, South Korea, Australia and the United Arab Emirates.
India’s procurement of Chinook Helicopters from US
Indian government has already spent USD 3 billion to buy 15 Chinook and 22 Apache attack helicopters. India also has the option to buy six more Apaches, already approved by the United States.
India signed a USD 3 billion deal with the US in September 2015 for the purchase of 15 Chinook heavy lift and 22 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters.
In October 2018, 4 pilots and 4 flight engineers of IAF were trained by Boeing for operating Chinook helicopters. The pilots and flight engineers were trained in Delaware USA.
On February 2, 2019, India was officially handed over first of the Chinook helicopters during ‘India-Chinook Transfer Ceremony’ at Boeing's facility in Philadelphia. The handover took place in the presence of Indian ambassador to US, Harsh Shringla.
Story 2: Vice Admiral Karambir Singh appointed as Chief of Naval Staff
Vice Admiral Karambir Singh was on March 23, 2019 appointed as the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS). He is currently serving as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C) of Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam.
Singh will take over the office of CNS as the 24th Navy Chief from incumbent CNS Admiral Sunil Lanba, who is set to retire on May 31, 2019 after completing three years in office.
Vice Admiral Karambir Singh
• Vice Admiral Singh will be the first helicopter pilot of the Navy to become the Chief of Indian Navy.
• In over 36 years of his service till date, Singh served in a variety of command, staff and instructional appointments.
• He has commanded an Indian Coast Guard Ship, a Naval Missile Corvette as well as Guided Missile Destroyers.
• He became a helicopter pilot in 1982 and flew on the Chetak and Kamov helicopters in support of fleet operations.
• He was commissioned into the Indian Navy in July 1980.
• He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla
Government again overlooked seniority criterion
With the appointment of Vice Admiral Karambir Singh, the Government for the second time overlooked the seniority criterion. The government had earlier overlooked a senior officer by appointing General Bipin Rawat as the Chief of Army Staff in 2016.
Vice Admiral Bimal Verma would be the senior-most officer in the Indian Navy after the retirement of Admiral Sunil Lanba. Vice Admiral Verma is the chief of the Andaman and Nicobar-based tri-service command.