26 July : Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) on Saturday handed over the first batch of four Cheetal helicopters to the Indian Air Force (IAF) in Barrackpore in West Bengal.
“IAF had placed an order for 10 Cheetals, of which the first batch of four has been delivered. The remaining six are expected to be handed over by September,” HAL’s Helicopter Complex Managing Director R Srinivasan said.
“We expect IAFs order to be followed up by the Army and also the Government of India which is looking at procuring helicopters for various roles, especially for internal security,” he added.
The Cheetal is an upgraded version of the Cheetah helicopter, which has been provided additional power by equipping it with a more capable engine- TM333-2M2.
At the ceremony, HAL’s Design and Development Director N C Agarwal formally handed over the helicopters to Air Vice Marshal M Bahadur.
After receiving the choppers, AVM Bahadur said, “The re-engined Cheetals will increase our operational capabilities, especially for high altitude operations.”
The IAF has a fleet of over 200 Cheetah and Chetak French origin helicopters, which are mainly used by it to air maintain Army’s positions in high altitude areas and carrying out surveillance and search and rescue missions.
The Cheetal has modern features such as light weight modern technology cockpit and modern avionics for accurate navigation systems, Flight Monitoring System (FMS), Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT).