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India delivers 3 Cheetal helicopters to Afghanistan

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Cheetal is the upgraded version of HAL-built Cheetah light utility, multi-role helicopter (in pic).

NEW DELHI (PTI): India has delivered three multi-role Cheetal helicopters along with allied equipment and spares to Afghanistan, Lok Sabha was informed Friday.

Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh, in a written reply, told Lok Sabha, "The helicopters were dispatched to Afghanistan on April 9. These helicopters have been test flown and accepted by Afghanistan pilots on April 15."

He said the three Cheetal helicopters were based on an agreement with the Ministry of External Affairs.

Cheetals are the upgraded version of Cheetah light utility, multi-role helicopters built by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

Cheetal helicopter is equipped with a Turbomeca TM 333-2M2 free turbine turboshaft engine. Compared to the 560 km of the Cheetah helicopter, Cheetal has a range of about 640 km.

Cheetal also provides a higher payload capacity of 90 kg, compared to the 50 kg of Cheetah.

The helicopters can be used for personnel transport, evacuation, reconnaissance and aerial survey. It is also capable of operating in the high-altitude areas.

Afghanistan has been seeking from India military equipment and lethal hardware, including tanks, artillery guns among others.

However, India has so far not supplied any lethal equipment to Afghanistan but has trained numerous of its officers in the country.

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