Arunachal Pradesh: On March 16, 2023, an Indian Army Cheetah helicopter crashed near the Mandala hills area of Arunachal Pradesh. According to Army sources, the search operation for the pilots has started, and more details are awaited.
The Indian Army uses Cheetah helicopters primarily for reconnaissance and surveillance purposes in high-altitude areas, including the Himalayan region. The Mandala hills area is located in the eastern part of the state, close to the border with China.
The cause of the crash is not yet known, and it is unclear how many pilots were on board the helicopter at the time of the incident. The Indian Army has a significant presence in Arunachal Pradesh, where it has been engaged in counter-insurgency and border security operations.
The Indian Air Force and the Army Aviation Corps have launched an immediate search and rescue operation for the missing pilots. The rugged terrain and adverse weather conditions are expected to pose challenges to the rescue teams.
This is not the first time that an Indian Army helicopter has crashed in the region. In September 2021, an Indian Army helicopter crashed in the eastern state of West Bengal, killing two pilots on board. In 2019, two Indian Air Force pilots were killed when their Mirage 2000 fighter jet crashed in the same area.
The Indian Army has been actively modernizing its aviation fleet in recent years, with the procurement of new helicopters and other aircraft. However, the challenges of operating in the Himalayan region, with its harsh weather and difficult terrain, make aviation operations in the region inherently risky.