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10:07 AM, June 8, 2019
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HAL Offers ALH Dhruv For Indian Navy’s $3 Billion Utility Helicopter Procurement Plan
Advanced Light Helicopter ‘Dhruv’ (image: Rushabh P Bafna)

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has offered 111 Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH), the “Dhruv” for $3 billion (INR 21,738 Crore) to the Indian Navy’s Naval Utility Helicopter (NUH) procurement plan.

“The Company’s NUH is an Advanced Light Helicopter `Dhruv’ with customisation designed to meet all the operational requirements of India,” a top officer told Financial Express Online Thursday.

“The flying machine can be fitted with torpedoes, Depth Charges & Missiles, Self Protection System (SPS) & Flight Crew Data (FCD). Besides having Software-defined radio (SDR), Data Link & SATCOM, these helicopters will have the main rotor blade folding and tail boom folding to enable stowage in Navy’s ship hangars,” he added.

Earlier this year at the Aero India 2019, HAL had demonstrated the Tail Boom folding and Main Rotor folding of the Naval Utility Helicopter.

The Indian Ministry of defense (MoD) invited expressions of interest (EoI) for 111 helicopters to be made in the country in collaboration with foreign partners earlier this year. Indian companies were given two months to respond to the EoI, while the foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) were given three months.

Tata Advanced Systems, Mahindra Defence, Adani Defence, L&T, Bharat Forge and Reliance Infrastructure were the Indian companies that were expected to participate in the bidding. These firms were required to collaborate with the foreign companies to make the helicopters in the country under India’s “Make in India” programme designed to build a domestic military industrial complex and reduce imports.

The foreign manufacturers have been mandated to set up dedicated manufacturing lines, including design, integration and manufacturing processes for the new helicopters, in India.

The new choppers will replace Chetak helicopters and will be utilised for search and rescue, casualty evacuation, light maritime operations, passenger roles and also dropping torpedo.

Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky Helicopters is likely to drop out at the next level as it has multiple non-compliances. “Unless the Indian Navy dilutes its requirements at the Request for Proposal (RFP) Stage, the company might drop out since it is non-compliant to many of the specifications of the helicopter the navy is seeking,” a top official said.

Three companies Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky Helicopter S 76D, European Airbus and Russia’s Kamov Ka-226T, have responded to the EoI floated by the MoD earlier this year. The companies last month submitted proposals to build their helicopters through an Indian industry designated as “strategic partner” (SP).

The European manufacturer Airbus has submitted proposals for two platforms: the H-145M and the Panther AS565 – to be manufactured in partnership with Mahindra Defence.

Under an Indo-Russian inter-governmental agreement (IGA), both HAL and Indo-Russian Helicopters Ltd (IRHL) already have a joint venture to manufacture the Kamov Ka-226T light helicopter in India.

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