Defence & Security

Indian Army’s Cheetah Helicopter crashes in Jammu and Kashmir’s Gurez border area

Cheetah Helicopter

An Indian Army Helicopter crashed in the Baraum region of the Gurez sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday. Several media reports suggest that the Cheetah Helicopter crashed when it was en route on a mission to rescue an injured soldier in the area of Gurez. As per emerging media reports, one Indian Army pilot died in the helicopter crash in the region of Bandipora in North Kashmir. Further, as per reports and top sources,  the Co-Pilot was also injured in the area of Gurez, however, he is said to be stable. Soon as the news broke out, search parties rushed to the spot for searching the chopper crew in the snow-bound area to rescue them. 

According to a statement of the Ministry of Defence in November 2021, the replacement of the aircraft fleet forces including Cheetah and Chetak helicopters is evaluated from time to time keeping in view the operational requirements. It is said that the government has planned replacement of these helicopters with Naval Utility Helicopters and indigenous Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) that are manufactured by HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited).

Earlier, this helicopter had a similar kind of accident in 2021 where 2 Indian Air Force pilots lost their lives and one of the major reasons for this was that the helicopter lacked many modern advanced features. The Cheetah Helicopter is single-engined and does not have key features like moving map display, ground proximity warning system, and weather radar. Further, the helicopter also lacks an autopilot system, which can be risky for the pilots flying it.  The Indian Army, as of now has a fleet of 200 Cheetah helicopters. 

In a little while back, there have been more than 30 crashes, killing over 40 officers. According to the media reports “In the year 2015 Internal Communication, the Army headquarters had said that Cheetah helicopters have virtually become the “death trap.” It is said that “almost 80 percent of these helicopters have outlived their lifespan of 30 years; the rest will cross the 50 years in early 2022.”

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