HAL Cheetah: Important Facts

An HAL Cheetah helicopter crashed near Mandala in Arunachal Pradesh, India, with a search operation underway for the two pilots on board. The cause of the crash is currently unknown, but the Indian Army has launched a search operation to locate the pilots and investigate the incident.

Designed for High Altitude and Hot Tropical Conditions

The Cheetah helicopter is a licence-built version of the French Aérospatiale SA 315B Lama and was designed to operate in high altitude and hot tropical conditions. It was primarily used for reconnaissance and surveillance missions by the Indian Army, but also served other roles such as medical evacuation and transportation of personnel and supplies.

Ageing and High-Maintenance Aircraft

Despite its exceptional performance, the Cheetah has become an ageing and high-maintenance aircraft, with its airworthiness repeatedly questioned due to incidents and a lack of spare parts. The Indian Army has been working to keep the Cheetah operational for years, but its age and increasing maintenance costs have made it a difficult aircraft to maintain.

Integral to the Indian Armed Forces

Despite its limitations, the Cheetah remains integral to the Indian armed forces, which have yet to find a better alternative. The Cheetah has been in service with the Indian Army since the 1970s and has served in various conflicts, including the Kargil War in 1999. Its reliability and versatility have made it a valuable asset to the Indian military, but the time has come for a replacement.

Development of a Light Utility Helicopter

HAL, the manufacturer of the Cheetah, is currently developing a Light Utility Helicopter to eventually replace the Cheetah. The Light Utility Helicopter is a 5.5-tonne class helicopter that is expected to enter service in the coming years. It is designed to operate in high altitude and hot tropical conditions and will be capable of performing a variety of roles, including reconnaissance, surveillance, medical evacuation, and transportation of personnel and supplies.




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