Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has delivered a Chetak multi-utility helicopter to the Indian Navy ahead of schedule.

The company handed over the documents to the Navy during an event held at HAL facilities in the state of Karnataka.

Delivery of the helicopter is part of a contract awarded by the Indian Navy in August 2017 to supply eight Chetak helicopters.

Under the contract, HAL was originally scheduled to deliver the first two aircraft in August this year and the remaining six in August 2020.

HAL chairman and managing director R Madhavan stated that the Chetak helicopters feature latest indigenously built communication and navigation systems.

He added that the company will provide ongoing support to the navy’s Chetak fleet in the form of servicing, spares and other equipment to ensure operational readiness.

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Indian Navy CSO (Air) Commodore Vikram Menon said: “It is an honour to accept the first production helicopter one month ahead of schedule. We are aware of the vital role played by Chetak helicopters in Indian Naval aviation for the past five decades.

“HAL and Indian Navy have shared a long fruitful relationship. We appreciate HAL’s commitment and look for continued support in future.”

HAL produces the Chetak helicopters under licence from Eurocopter, which is now Airbus Helicopters.

The company delivered the first Chetak helicopter to the Indian Navy in February 1966.

HAL Helicopter Complex CEO GVS Bhaskar said: “HAL has successfully restarted the Chetak helicopter production line after incorporating latest technologies. We are committed to delivering the remaining seven helicopters as per the delivery schedule.”

The Navy deploys the Chetaks to conduct communication duties, passenger transport, Cargo/ Material transport, casualty evacuation, search and rescue, aerial survey and patrolling, and emergency medical services.

The helicopters also carry out electronic intelligence gathering, anti-hijacking, offshore operation, and under-slung operation.

The company has so far delivered more than 80 Chetak helicopters to the Indian Navy, of which 51 are currently in service.