The Indian Air Force which is providing air support to the State Police Forces and Central Paramilitaries in operations against the CPI(Maoist) has had many close shaves and suffered some casualties. While helicopters have been damaged by gun fire , no helicopter has still been completely destroyed.
Some people in the establishment believe that the increasing role of the Air Force in Anti-Maoist operations will sooner than later lead to the first helicopter being shot and destroyed completely. This could happen within the next few weeks/months and once that happens the IAF which has been reluctantly dragged into this Anti-people campaign will ground it's entire fleet , so before they take a hit the government BABU's want the IAF to do it's dirty work and go all out against the Maoists...
The single biggest reason why the CPI(Maoist) has not been successful in taking down a helicopter so far is that it lacks the high caliber weapons in it's arsenal that is required to inflict a fatal shot.
Syria: rebels 'shoot down helicopter'
700 American Helicopters Shot Down By Viet-Cong In 1 Week
VIETNAM (February, 1971) In one of the biggest American military failures ever, more than 700 helicopters were shot down by the North Vietnamese as the U.S. and their ARVN allies tried to close down the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos by attacking it.
|A crashed Indian Helicopter|
Army nixes govt plan to hit naxals from air
The home ministry wanted to deploy helicopter gunships to carry out surgical air strikes at Maoist camps in the hard-to-reach jungles of Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand but has been told to shove the controversial plan
The home ministry plan was part of the ambitious proposal for the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) to deploy all available resources of the central government to scale up the battle against Maoists in their core areas.
The note – which also proposed deployment of 30,000 personnel of the army’s anti-insurgency force, Rashtriya Rifles – was sent to the CCS in early August last year.
As reported by HT in January, the home ministry couldn’t muster support for induction of Rashtriya Rifles at the meeting of the committee of secretaries that scrutinised the proposals for the CCS. The panel of secretaries, however, cleared other non-controversial aspects of the home ministry plan.
At these meetings, Army chief General Bikram Singh strongly advised against “quick fix solutions” to the battles that would need to be fought in the heart of India for many years.
Defence secretary Shashi Kant Sharma pointed to a host of negative implications of air strikes including “considerable collateral damage”.
Former home minister, P Chidambaram was the first to go public with the demand for aerial attacks after Maoists massacred 76 security personnel in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district in April 2010.
But he backed out after strident opposition to the plan, settling for choppers to provide logistics support and carry out rescue missions.
Behind the scenes, the home ministry not only worked to pump in funds for development in the Maoist heartland but also to raise the level of manpower, weaponry and logistics support to reclaim the over 70,000 sq km of territory where Maoists often have the last word.
The deployment of RR battalions and attack helicopters – the latter were extensively used by the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka in the late eighties – quietly resurfaced in the home ministry’s wish-list drawn last year.
At the heart of this plan was the argument that the government stop dealing with Maoists with kid gloves. Home secretary RK Singh was clear that the Centre should deploy its full might and commit every available resource to the anti-Maoist theatre.
The view gained strength after Maoists shot an Indian Air Force chopper on a rescue mission this January in Sukma district close to the spot where 76 personnel were ambushed two years earlier.
The Maoists had already shown their brutal face a week earlier when they placed a 1.5 kg explosive inside a CRPF jawan killed in an ambush in Jharkhand's Latehar district.
Government sources said the home ministry had agreed to withdraw the twin proposal from the CCS note “at this stage” in view of the reservations.
But there is a strong view at the home ministry – articulated by home secretary Singh last year – that the State needs to use its “coercive power” as and when required and deployments should not only cater to the present situation but also futuristic situations”.
COPTERS ON MAOISTS’ HIT LIST: INTEL REPORT
Specific inputs with the Centre suggest Maoists are actively video-graphing helicopters during landing and take-off in Naxal-hit areas with an intention to attack them.
Latest intelligence reports indicated incidents of video-graphing Kistaram, Golapalli and Chintalnar in Sukma and Parmer in Bijapur districts of Chhattisgarh. Following the inputs, the Union Home Ministry has advised the Naxal-affected States to keep an area of about 2 km around the helipads as a safe zone and to ensure that the site is sanitised by the ground troops effectively.
The Ministry has shot off the letter after a brazen incident was reported when an Indian Air Force helicopter (MI 17) — while attempting to land at Timlewada camp of Chhattisgarh Armed Police under Chintagufa police station — was fired upon by the cadre of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), forcing the pilot to land at an undesignated place on January 18 this year.
The chopper was requisitioned to retrieve two injured State police personnel who were hit by the ultras during an anti-Naxal operation in the area. Six IAF personnel including two pilots, two Garuda commandoes and two technicians had reportedly left the chopper along with a loaded Light Machine Gun and an injured constable of the police wireless.
The 150 battalion of the CRPF and 201 CoBRA battalion played a crucial role in rescue of the injured State police personnel including the wireless operator and located the grounded chopper. The IAF team took cover inside the 150 battalion camp.
A senior CRPF official said the Maoists want to demoralise the security forces by targeting the choppers and restrain them from using air logistics. Attack on high-value targets like choppers also leads to maximum media coverage.
The recent Home Ministry communication was sent to Principal Secretaries (Home) and Directors General of Police of Naxal-affected States including Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The advisory was also sent to Nodal Officers (Naxal matters) of these States and Directors General of Central Reserve Police Force and Border Security Force and Director (Air) of Defence Ministry, PK Gupta.