CoI completed in helicopter straying incident

Eight months after 2 Indian pilots were detained by Pak authorities when a Cheetah helicopter strayed into PoK, Army has completed a court of inquiry.

New Delhi: Eight months after two Indian pilots were detained by Pakistani authorities when a Cheetah helicopter strayed into PoK, the Army has completed a court of inquiry into the incident.

The CoI into the incident has been completed and submitted to the Northern Command headquarters, Army sources said here today without elaborating.

However, they made it clear that none of the two army pilots involved in the incident have been grounded by the authorities.

The two pilots had taken off from Leh on October 23 last year with two maintenance staff for repairing a Dhruv helicopter but strayed into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir apparently due to problems in their GPS devices in inclement weather.
The pilots were detained by Pakistani authorities at the Olding sector near Skardu, about 20 km from the LoC, for a few hours before they were allowed to fly back to India.

Later, it emerged that even after landing in Pakistani territory, the pilots did not realise their location and asked the Pakistani personnel to refuel their chopper.

It is also believed that Pakistani authorities carried out a thorough search of the Cheetah helicopter and checked the GPS devices also to verify the route taken by it.

To avoid future mishaps in various army operations, the Northern Command headquarters issued a tender to procure 80 GPS advanced navigation systems for the Cheetah and Chetak helicopters.
The light weight Cheetah and Chetak helicopters comprise the large majority of the Indian Army?s fleet of choppers.

Besides, the tender for procurement 197 light utility choppers to replace the Chetak and Cheetah is also at an advanced stage.

The last two contenders are the Russian Ka-226 T and Eurocopter?s AS-550 C3 Finnec.


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