India Indian Helicopter Archive


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New Delhi, Jul 17 (PTI) The Philippines is looking at procuring a batch of advanced light helicopters from India to crank up its combat capability, months after sealing a USD 375-million deal to acquire three batteries of the BrahMos cruise missile.

The Southeast Asian nation has been focusing on modernising its military in the face of myriad security challenges as well as decades-long territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea.

Top officials in the security and defence establishment told PTI on Sunday that the Philippines has shown keen interest in procurement of a number of advanced light helicopters (ALH) to replace its ageing chopper fleet.

It is learnt the two sides are holding talks on the proposed acquisition.

The indigenously developed ALH helicopter is a twin engine, multi-role, multi-mission new generation helicopter in the 5.5 ton weight class and is considered to be an effective platform for various military operations.

The officials said the Philippines has also been impressed by the performance of India’s indigenously-developed Tejas light combat aircraft and could consider procuring it as the country continues its hunt for a fleet of fighter jets.

The Philippines is a key strategic partner of India in the Southeast Asian region and the bilateral defence and security ties have been on an upswing in the last few years, especially in the maritime domain.

The Philippines is also a key member of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), an influential bloc with whom India’s ties have witnessed major expansion in the last one decade.

In January, the Philippines concluded a USD 375-million deal with India for procurement of three batteries of the BrahMos cruise missile.

BrahMos Aerospace, an India-Russian joint venture, produces supersonic cruise missiles that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft, or land platforms.

In a related development, India signed a framework agreement with the Philippines in March that provided for government-to-government deals for supply of defence hardware and equipment.

India has been looking at supplying critical military hardware and platforms to countries with whom it has strong strategic ties and convergence of interests.

The Tejas aircraft has already emerged as the top choice for Malaysia as the country is looking at replacing its ageing fleet of fighter jets.

Malaysia has already narrowed down on the Indian aircraft notwithstanding stiff competition from China’s JF-17 jet, South Korea’s FA-50 and Russia’s Mig-35 as well as Yak-130.

Tejas, manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, is a single-engine and highly agile multi-role supersonic fighter aircraft capable of operating in high-threat air environments.

In February last year, the defence ministry sealed a Rs 48,000 crore deal with HAL for the procurement of 83 Tejas fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

India has already started work on the MK 2 version of the Tejas as well as on an ambitious USD 5-billion project to develop a fifth-generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).

The sources said India is also keen to set up an MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) facility in the Philippines to provide services to its civil and military aircraft. “The talks on several projects are underway,” said one of the officials.

The Defence Ministry has set a goal of a turnover of USD 25 billion (Rs 1.75 lakh crore) in defence manufacturing in the next five years that included an export target of USD 5 billion (Rs 35,000 crore) worth of military hardware. In the last few years, the government has taken a series of measures to promote domestic defence production. PTI MPB TIR TIR

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.


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HAL to supply 12 light utility helicopters to armed forces
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) has received the Letter of Intent from the Services for the manufacture of 12 Light Utility Helicopters (LUH), which have been designed and developed indigenously. At the same time, nine Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) have been manufactured against the sanction of 15 limited series production (LSP) variants and are in the process of being handed over to the Services.

In another development, the Army is in negotiations for acquiring 11 more Apache AH-64E attack helicopters from the U.S.

“Production work has begun. Two LUH are in an advanced stage of completion,” a HAL source confirmed to The Hindu.

In addition, the Request For Quotation (RFQ) for the larger order for LUH RFQ has also been issued, one source stated.

HAL is in the process of responding to the RFQ and expects to conclude the related issues in one or two years, the source stated. Last November, the Defence Acquisition Council approved the procurement of an initial lot of 12 LUH, six each for the Army and the Air Force.

LCH induction

In June, the Army raised its first LCH squadron in Bengaluru which will move to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Command once complete next year. “Of the 15 LSP on order, nine LCH have been produced. They are in acceptance stage,” HAL sources said.

As of now the Army is looking at acquiring around 111 LUH and 95 LCH, officials stated. Army sources had said that seven LCH units are planned for combat role in the mountains, with each having 10 helicopters. The IAF is also scheduled to raise its first LCH squadron in the next few months.

More Apache attack helicopters

The Cabinet Committee on Security had earlier given sanction for the procurement of 39 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters from the U.S.. Following this, IAF had inducted 22 Apaches procured under a deal signed in September 2015. The government had ruled that any further Apache procurements would go to the Army. In line with this, India signed a deal for six more Apaches at a cost of around $800 million in February 2020.

Deliveries which were to begin in the first half of 2023 have been delayed by around 10 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a defence official said. They are now scheduled to arrive in early 2024, an Army source said.

In addition, the Army is pushing the case for the remaining 11 Apaches of the 39 sanctioned, the official added. A senior official of aircraft manufacturer Boeing had recently confirmed that they were in talks with the Indian Army for additional Apaches.

The Army has three Aviation Brigades at Leh, Missamari and Jodhpur. It operates around 145 indigenous Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH), 75 of which are the Rudra-weaponised variants. Another 25 ALH Mk-III are on order and scheduled to be inducted within two years. The Army operates around 190 Cheetah, Chetak and Cheetal helicopters and are in dire need of their replacement, while the IAF operates close to 140 of them.

In all, the IAF operates a wide mix of around 500 rotary platforms which includes around 90 Mi-17s, over 130 Mi-17V5s, over 70 ALH, including the weaponised variants, 22 Apaches, one squadron of Mi-35 attack helicopters and 15 CH-47F Chinook heavy lift helicopters.

In the utility helicopter category, the Army and the IAF together have a requirement of more than 400 helicopters and are meant to replace the vintage Cheetah and Chetak helicopters in service. This requirement was to be met jointly by the LUH and the 200 Ka-226T utility helicopters to be built with technology transfer from Russia.

However, the Ka-226T deal has been delayed by several years over indigenisation issues and with the LUH now ready and the geopolitical situation due to the war in Ukraine, the deal is all set to be dropped, officials had stated. The LUH has come up well, but will take time for sufficient numbers to come in, Army sources had stated.
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