Army, IAF grounds entire fleet of light utility choppers for safety check
The army and the air force have grounded their entire fleet of decades old light utility helicopters for a thorough safety check after three army aviators were killed in a chopper crash last week.
More than 280 helicopters have been grounded and they will again start flying one by one after Hindustan Aeronautics Limited carry out safety checks.
“This is a standard operating procedure. If following a crash, safety requirements come into question, the entire fleet undergoes a safety check,” an IAF officer said.
Even though all Cheetah, Chetaks and Cheetals have been grounded, officers insisted that work will not be affected as other helicopters like the Dhruv are in operation.
Following a crash in October last year, the IAF had grounded the entire fleet of its mainstream fighter aircraft Su30.
HAL licence-produced 625 Cheetah and Chetak helicopters.
It no longer builds them but is responsible for their maintenance and repair.
The Defence Ministry had last year scrapped a Rs 6,000-crore project to import light utility helicopters to replace Cheetah and Chetak helicopters, the third time the procurement was scrapped due to corruption allegations and technical issues.
India and Russia have now agreed to manufacture Kamov-226T light utility choppers domestically to replace these helicopters.