Ecuador to receive five Indian choppers at air show

February 12th, 2009 - 1:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Feb 12 (IANS) India will deliver on its first export order for its indigenously built choppers when state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) hands over five Dhruv advanced light helicopters (ALH) to Ecuador at the Aero India international air show here Friday.
“Five Dhruvs of the utility variant will be handed over to General Commander Rodrigo Bohorquez Slores of the Ecuadorian Air Force (EAF) by our chairman Ashok Baweja at the air show. Two more will be delivered by year-end,” a HAL spokesman told IANS.

The defence behemoth bagged its first export order valued at Rs.21.4 billion ($51 million) in June 2008 for seven Dhruvs through a global bid in which Israeli Elbit, European conglomerate Eurocopter and Russia’s Kazan also participated.

“Four of the copters will be used by the EAF and one for VIP movement. They will be flown to Ecuador in a giant transport aircraft. We will also station a group of engineers for maintenance and service of the copters,” the spokesman said.

HAL had earlier supplied a civil variant of the Dhruv to Nepal under the bilateral military cooperation between the two countries.

A previous attempt to sell the multi-role Dhruv to Chile fell through despite a request for proposal (RFP) from the country’s air force.

In the domestic market, about 80 variants of Dhruv are in operation with the three services, the Coast Guard and a couple of corporate firms.

“We have orders to supply 159 more Dhruvs to the IAF and army over the next two-three years, with indigenous Shakti engines. We will be manufacturing utility as well as military variants for the three services,” the spokesman added.

HAL also received an order from Turkey in August 2008 for three Dhruvs to meet its military’s requirements. Similarly, Jordan has shown interest in the Dhruv.

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