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Cheetah, Chetak choppers to retire after string of crashes raise safety concerns

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by Blackjay, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. Blackjay

    Blackjay Developers Guild Developers -IT and R&D

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    Cheetah, Chetak choppers to retire after string of crashes raise safety concerns
    By Rahul Singh, New Delhi, Hindustan Times

    CHEQUERED PAST
    • November 30, 2016: A Cheetah helicopter crashes at Sukna in West Bengal, killing three officers
    • March 11, 2016: A Cheetah helicopter crash lands in Hoshiarpur
    • February 3, 2015: Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat (then a Lt Gen) survives Cheetah crash in Dimapur
    • October2, 2014: Three army aviators killed in Cheetah crash near Bareilly
    • May 23, 2012: Pilot killed in Cheetah crash at Siachen
    • August 18, 2010: 3 officers die in Cheetah crash in Nagaland
    The army has firmed up plans to retire its oldest light-utility helicopters, pushing the panic button, as a string of recent crashes have blemished the safety record of the machines.

    A South Block source said that the early variants of the Cheetah and Chetak fleet will be replaced by the locally-made advanced light helicopter (ALH), also known as Dhruv.

    The source said the army’s aviation wing would replace 41 Cheetahs and Chetaks with new helicopters from the “ALH reserve stock” and the proposal would be sent for Cabinet committee on security approval soon.


    The army and air force grounded their fleets of 280 light-utility helicopters last December, concerned if the machines were fit to fly, after three aviators were killed in a crash in West Bengal.

    The Cheetah and Chetak helicopters, lifeline of troops in high-altitude areas, including the Siachen glacier, are being cleared for flying in batches by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) after carrying out a comprehensive safety check.

    The Kamov-226T light utility choppers, to be built with Russia, are to replace these helicopters. However, the $1-billion programme is yet to kick off and the military may have to wait several years for the new machines. Russia will supply 60 helicopters in flyaway condition while the remaining 140 will be manufactured in India.

    “The manufacturing line of the ALH is quite stable and the machines are coming out at a pretty steady rate. The Kamovs will take time to come,” a senior officer said. The army operates a mix of 150 Cheetahs and Chetaks.


    The design of these helicopters is more than 50 years old and their airworthiness is being questioned after a string of mishaps. Nine personnel were killed in six accidents involving these machines during 2012-15. The Cheetahs play a crucial role in supporting the army on the Siachen glacier, one of the world’s highest battlefields, flying at more than 20,000 feet.

    A group of army wives met defence minister Manohar Parrikar in 2015, demanding the helicopters be retired. HAL has licence-produced 625 Cheetah and Chetak helicopters. It no longer builds them but is responsible for their maintenance and repair, a cause for concern.

     
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  2. Sathya

    Sathya Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    :coffee::blink:

    41 Dhurvs are in reserve stock? which block are those?
    block 3 can do all altitudes with 3 times the load carrying capacity:slowride:
     
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  3. Ripcord322

    Ripcord322 Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    I wish the LUH would have been ready by now for procurement... Because it is more comparable to Chetak / Cheetah choppers...The ALH is much more expensive...(Hence much more capable)...


    Anyway it's good they are phasing out the old choppers...and replacing them with new ones...
     
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  4. AbRaj

    AbRaj Captain FULL MEMBER

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    Yeh,No point risking soldiers life on aged platforms.
    They served well retire them already
     
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  5. Sathya

    Sathya Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    i guess paying extra fuel and maintenance is better than losing personal which is even more bigger loss.
    sorties can be reduced because of increased payloads

    guess its like Rafale doing LCA job..
     
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  6. Lion of Rajputana

    Lion of Rajputana Captain FULL MEMBER

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    More importantly, there's one crucial role which the ALH cannot do, and for which we need Cheetahs/Chetaks even now; Siachen. I'd buy 10-20 Ka-226's out of any country's inventory RIGHT NOW if need be, just so we can fully retire all the creaky old Alouette knock offs.

    Btw, is the Dhruv considered safe and reliable now? I remember a time when they were dropping out of the sky like flies, espc in Ecuador. Did they discover and fix a crucial flaw in the early ones or something?
     
  7. Ripcord322

    Ripcord322 Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Hmmm.....Right.....
    ______________________________________________________________________________________

    Yeah.. I guess... Didn't hear of an ALH crash recently... HAL was also bragging about receiving some International Safety certification recently...


    And Regarding Ecuador... The import prospects of ALH, I guess will be permanently harmed.... And also... I hear, Ecuador is dragging HAL to intl. court... :lol:
    Anyway... Let their Pilots RIP...
    ______________________________________________________________________________________

    And... Apart from being capable in Siachen, I hope the Reliance guys gain good experience from the production of Ka-226... And can hopefully produce other platforms too... I hope, It will also turn the heat on HAL...
     
  8. Ripcord322

    Ripcord322 Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    btw... Are you sure ALH can't handle Siachen....!?

    There is this article on the Internet...


    http://ajaishukla.blogspot.com/2011/03/in-siachen-dhruv-proves-world-beater.html?m=1


    One ALH did crash in Siachen...

    Are there some problems from the user regarding its performance !?
     
  9. AbRaj

    AbRaj Captain FULL MEMBER

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    Do you know highest crash rate among any fighter jet post WW ? It's Russian MIG 21
    Do you know highest crash rate among current gen Fighter jet ? Yes it's Su27/30 series
    Need more ???
    Dhruv have better safety record than many Mi series choppers
    Just little googling will help you emensely
     
  10. Ripcord322

    Ripcord322 Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Woah.... I never knew that.... No wonder he will be replacing them soon.....

    Woah....!!!!
     
  11. Ripcord322

    Ripcord322 Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Is the crash rate of the MKI similar to or worse than Intl. Heavy Fighter Crash rates....!?
     
  12. AbRaj

    AbRaj Captain FULL MEMBER

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    Your guess is as good as mine bro.
    It has some FBw and also engine flaws.
    Btw engine flaw is said to be identified and rectified. But is it true?
    Then why they are so maintenance intensive ( compare AL 31 MRO time )
     
  13. Lion of Rajputana

    Lion of Rajputana Captain FULL MEMBER

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    What are the quoted figures for? I don't remember saying anywhere that Migs and Su's are paragons of safety and reliability. I've long been a massive critic of the MiG-21, I say it should have been effectively phased out long ago, and I've been quite concerned re: the SU-30's spate of crashes over the past few years as well.

    As for Dhruv's safety record vs. Mil safety records; Mil's have served in almost every country's air force for more than half a century now. Dhruvs have been around for what, a decade? Seeing limited service with India and a few years with Ecuador before they grounded them.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
  14. Lion of Rajputana

    Lion of Rajputana Captain FULL MEMBER

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    That's what I've always heard man, that even the Dhruv is apparently too heavy for Siachen, hence the need to develop the LUH and buy the Ka 226T, and also that's why I always thought they were continuing to use such antiquated platforms as the Cheetah and Chetak.

    If Dhruvs can handle the helicopter duties on Siachen, then even more reason to phase out the Alouettes, and then at least temporarily just start using Dhruvs there.
     
  15. GuardianRED

    GuardianRED Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Sorry what is limited service are you talking wrt Dhruv??? All 5 services are using them and are adding more frames !
     

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