HAL has delivered the first of eight new-build CHETAK helicopters to the Indian Navy (IN) – ahead of schedule. S Anbuvelan, General Manager of HAL’s Helicopter Division, handed the aircraft’s documents to Cmdre Vikram Menon, VSM, the Chief Staff Officer (Air) at Headquarters Naval Aviation on 24 July.
In August 2017 the Navy contracted HAL to supply eight new CHETAK rotorcraft, the first two to be delivered in August 2019, the remainder in August 2020. They are fitted with latest versions of communication and navigation systems developed by HAL, which remains committed to provide continuous support to the CHETAK fleet.
“HAL has successfully restarted the CHETAK helicopter production line after incorporating [the] latest technologies. We are committed to deliver the remaining seven helicopters as per the delivery schedule,” commented CEO of the Helicopter Complex, G V S Bhaskar.
HAL has manufactured the CHETAK under license from Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters) for 50 years: the first was delivered to the IN in February 1966. They are employed by the Navy on a wide variety of missions, including communication duties (passenger transport), cargo/materiel transport, casualty evacuation, search and rescue, aerial survey and patrolling, emergency medical services, electronic news-gathering, anti-hijacking, offshore operations and under-slung load operations.
HAL has so far produced more than 350 CHETAK helicopters, of which around 80 have been delivered to the IN. Serviceability has been consistently high, and 51 are currently in IN service. The company supports the IN in periodical servicing of these helicopters, clearance of spares, defect rectification and any other requirement for the sustainability of the aircraft.
“We are aware of the vital role played by CHETAK helicopters in Indian Naval aviation for the past five decades. HAL and [the] Indian Navy have shared a long fruitful relationship. We appreciate HAL’s commitment and look for continued support in [the] future," stated Cmdre Menon, accepting the aircraft one month ahead of schedule.