NEW DELHI- For the first time the Indian Air Force (IAF) has handed over two women fighter pilots to its frontline Chinook helicopter units. Both these Chinook units are playing an important role in providing aid to the Indian troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
According to media reports, if an Air Force officer is to be believed, Squadron Leader Parul Bhardwaj and Swati Rathore were flying Mi 17V5 helicopters manufactured by Russia. Now he has been transferred to CH 47F Chinook units at Chandigarh and Mohanbari in Assam.
Squadron Leader Parul Bhardwaj had captained the Mi 17V5 for the first time in 2019. Just two years later, Swati Rathore was the first woman helicopter pilot to participate in the 2021 Republic Day parade on duty. Bharadwaj and Rathore have been assigned to Chinook units at a time when doors have been opened for women in the armed forces.
An Air Force official said that flying the Chinook is completely different from flying other helicopters. It is the only tandem rotor aircraft operated by the Indian Air Force. It can play a variety of roles in warfare. It cannot be controlled like other helicopters. Its controls are different. It is used to carry logistics to the battlefield and for military transport and artillery.
The Chinook helicopter from America, was inducted into the Indian Air Force for the first time in 2019. This helicopter is multipurpose. This is the newest helicopter to be inducted into our Air Force fleet. The Air Force currently operates 15 Chinooks. This aircraft is so special that it can transport light howitzers in the border area.
Almost all forward posts guarding the frontier with China in Arunachal Pradesh will have at least one large helipad each for swift mobilisation of troops and military equipment using Chinook helicopters.
The government has been giving a major push to infrastructure development along the nearly 3,500 km long LAC following the eastern Ladakh faceoff that began in 2020.
The Army has deployed a significant number of easily transportable M-777 ultra-light howitzers in mountainous regions along the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh.
The M-777 can be transported quickly in Chinook helicopters and the Army now has the flexibility of quickly moving them from one place to another based on operational requirements.