India seeks details as US grounds Chinook Chopper fleet
New Delhi, Aug 31: India on Wednesday sought details of the reasons which have led to the grounding of the entire fleet of US Army's Chinook CH-47 helicopters over the risk of engine fires. The Indian Air Force (IAF) also has a fleet of Chinook which is still operational.
"Indian Air Force Chinook helicopter fleet is still operational. India has sought details of the reasons which have led to the grounding of the entire fleet of US Army's Chinook CH-47 helicopters because of a risk of engine fires," news agency ANI reported quoting government officials.
India has about 15 CH-47 Chinook helicopters. Over the past few years, they have emerged as one of the major military tools for airlift operations in places like Ladakh and Siachen glaciers to assist Indian forces deployed in these regions.
The US Army grounded its entire fleet of Chinook helicopters amid concerns about engine fires.
India received the first batch of Chinook helicopters in February 2019. Boeing completed the delivery of 15 Chinook helicopters to the Indian Air Force in 2020.
Officials told the Wall Street Journal the US Army was aware of a small number of engine fires in the helicopters, and the incidents didn't result in any injuries or deaths.
"One of the officials said the fires occurred in recent days," the Journal said. "The US Army Materiel Command grounded the fleet of hundreds of helicopters out of an abundance of caution." However, officials were looking at more than 70 aircraft that contained a part suspected to be connected to the problem, officials told the daily.
The grounding of the heavy-lift Chinook helicopters could pose logistical challenges for American soldiers, depending on how long the order lasts, the Journal said.
The US Army has about 400 such helicopters in its fleet.