Barrackpore (WB): Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) on Saturday handed over four `Cheetal` helicopters, to the Indian Air Force enhancing its capabilities for high altitude missions.
Delivering the re-engined version of `Cheetah` choppers,
to Assistant Chief of Air staff Air Vice Marshal M Bahadur,
the director of HAL`s design and development N C Agarwal said,
with insurgency and cross-border terrorism on the rise, the
country is looking for a large number of such helicopters.
"The Ministry of Home Affairs is now even looking for
patrolling helicopters," Agarwal said at HAL`s Barrackpur
Division Complex here in North 24 Parganas district, about 23
KM from Kolkata.
Air Vice-Marshal Bahadur said the `Cheetal` would
enhance the capability of the forces in high altitude.
He stressed the need for continuous after-sales service
by HAL, especially the supply of spare parts.
Speaking on the occasion, Managing Director of HAL`s
helicopter complex R Srinivasan said the idea of converting
the `Cheetah` class of helicopters to `Cheetal` class, was
floated in 2002 and its certification was given in 2004.
"The Air Force was the first to recognise the efficiency
of the Cheetal and placed orders in 2006," Srinivasan said.
Srinivasan said the Air Force had placed orders for 10
`Cheetal` helicopters of which four were delivered today while
the remaining six would be delivered in September this year.
He said the HAL would then take up production of 10
helicopters, orders for which had been placed by the Army.
Fitted with better fuel efficient engine, which
increases its ranges of endurance and payload, the `Cheetal`
is suitable for various roles like search and rescue
operations and other missions in high altitude.
The `Cheetal` which created a world record in 2004 by
landing at 23,220 feet at Saser Kengri in the Ladakh region,
is also fitted with light weight modern technology, cockpit
instruments like cockpit voice recorder and emergency location