On Thursday, an Indian Army Aviation Cheetah helicopter that was conducting an operational sortie near Bomdila, Arunachal Pradesh, crashed, resulting in the deaths of two pilots.
The helicopter lost contact with the ATC at approximately 9:15 am and reportedly crashed near Mandala, to the west of Bomdila. The Army quickly launched five search parties consisting of the SSB and ITBP.
#LtGenRPKalita #ArmyCdrEC & All Ranks offer tribute to the supreme sacrifice of Lt Col VVB Reddy & Maj Jayanth A, in the line of duty at Mandala, #ArunachalPradesh while carrying out operational flying of Cheetah Helicopter. #IndianArmy stands firm with the bereaved families pic.twitter.com/XimeZQ0panADVERTISEMENT VLI
— EasternCommand_IA (@easterncomd) March 16, 2023
The IAF and Army’s Chetak and Cheetah helicopters, which serve as the lifeline of forces in high-altitude regions, urgently require replacement due to their aging condition. Currently, approximately 200 Cheetah and Chetak helicopters are in operation.
In a recent statement, Army Chief General Manoj Pande revealed that the Army plans to acquire around 95 Light Combat Helicopters and 110 Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) in the future to enhance its combat aviation capabilities.
The Superintendent of Police for the Special Investigation Cell (SIC), Rohit Rajbir Singh, clarified that residents of a nearby village discovered the charred wreckage of the helicopter in Dirang and promptly alerted district officials.
“Villagers from Bangjalep at Dirang located the chopper around 12.30 pm. It is still burning,” Mr Singh said.
The area has no mobile connectivity and the weather is extremely foggy with visibility as low as five meters, he added.
Related: Ukraine vows to hold on to Bakhmut despite Russian onslaught