New Delhi, Nov 2 (PTI) An Indian Air Force Cheetal helicopter today made the world's highest landing at a density altitude of 7621 meters on Sasser Kangri massif in Eastern Ladakh setting a new world record.
The Cheetal, sporting a Cheetah air frame with a more powerful tm-333-2b2 aero engine, thus bettered the record held by the US Bell helicopter of landing at an altitude of 7655 meters achieved on July 28,2004, according to IAF spokesperson Squadron Leader Mahesh Upasani.
Flown by Group Capt A S Butola and Squadron Leader S Sharma the chopper landed at the Sasser Kangri depression between main and south peak at an altitude of 7070, pressure altitude of 7670 meters and density altitude of 7670 meters. The feat was witnessed and validated by Wing Commander Upadhayay, Chief test pilot, helicopters of HAL and Wing Commander Uni Pillay flying India's indigenous light helicopter Dhruv.
IAF sources said the motivation behind the world record breaking bid was that a Cheetah helicopter of the IAF had landed at a record density altitude of more than 7,500 metres just a few months back -- not in the quest of a record, but to rescue casualities from a mountaineering expedition in extremely challenging conditions.
"This feat made the IAF to launch a bid to break the world highest landing record", the spokesperson said.
The achievement would be a great cheer for the country's strategic planners, as India has been in quest for an high altitude helicopter to launch strategic mission over Ladakh and Kashmir Himalayas.
IAF sources said the combination of a light airframe and a more powerful engine has resulted in coming up with a leaner and more capable machine, permitting a higher payload specially suited for flights to Siachen Glacier, world highest battlefield and to areas aroud Daulat Beg Oldi and Karakoram Pass.
The IAF and the Hindustan Aeronautics had till now kept the Cheetal project under wraps. "Air Force has been associated in putting this machine through its trials and is all set to procure them for operations services in the force," the spokesperson said.
The French engine is also fitted on the Advanced Light Helicopter.
The US helicopter giant Bell along with Eurocopter and Italian Westland choppers had been in the race for the Indian high altitude helicopter project.
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