Indian Navy to Get New Helicopters

By admin • August 17th, 2010

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India Defence Online, New Delhi –The Indian Navy is all set to receive the new Light Utility Helicopter since the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has cleared the tenders. The deal will be formally floated in the coming months and it involves the procurement of 56 naval light utility aircraft at the cost of Rs. 7000 crore for the Indian Navy.

The Indian Navy has been seeking to replace its ageing fleet of “Chetak” helicopter with a state-of-the-art twin-engine helicopter featuring advanced avionics. According to sources, the Request for Proposal (RFP) will be sent to European consortium EADS for its Eurocopter, the Anglo-Italian Agusta Westland, Russian firm Rosoboronexport for Kamovs and the US helicopter giants Bell and Sikorsky.

As per the RFP, the Indian Navy is looking at helicopters with twin controls for both pilots but also capable of being operated by a single pilot. The other requirements are the ability to carry out anti-submarine warfare operations with torpedoes and depth charges besides being suitable for anti-piracy and anti-terrorism roles. The helicopter should be suitable for day/night operation in harsh weather.

As for the indigenous Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is currently facing serious criticism as the project is constantly plagued by delays and technical glitches. The comptroller and audit general (CAG) report indicated that the development and production of the ALHs has suffered setbacks in terms of quality such as de-lamination of tail rotor and main rotor blades, frequent failure of the integrated dynamic system and poor performance of engine. Currently, the 74 ALH in the Indian Armed Forces are operating with limited features and conservative operational strength.

Source: India Defence Online

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