Sion, Switzerland-based operator Air-Glaciers is updating its fleet of light singles and twins in anticipation of eventually phasing out its Aerospatiale SA316 Alouette IIIs.
Maintaining India’s fleet of more than 230 aging Cheetah and Chetak reconnaissance and surveillance helicopters is turning into a nightmare due to unavailability of spares, according to K.C. Nanda, general manager of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd’s Barrackpore Division, who sounded the warning at a defense conference held in Kolkata in August. HAL built both the Cheetah and the Chetak under license from Eurocopter.
Last week China flew a new home-grown heavy-lift helicopter for the first time. The AC313 tips the scales at 27,600 pounds, can carry up to 27 people, has a maximum ferry range of 560 miles and was built at state-owned AVIC, the same company making Sikorsky S-76C++ airframes. The AC313 appears to be an outgrowth of the 14,000-pound Chinese Zhi-8. That medium helicopter is based on the 1970s-vintage Aérospatiale SA321 Super Frelon.