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.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
The Indian Navy has issued a request for proposal (RFP) for 56 light utility helicopters (LUH) to eight OEMs, including government-owned Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL). Submissions are due by January 7 next year, with the winner expected to enter service in 2016.
The navy wants to replace its fleet of HAL Chetak helicopters, a license-built version of the Alouette III. Of the 85 Chetaks that the navy received up to 2002, approximately 60 remain in service. In addition, the coast guard operates 17.
As Indian companies strive to ascend the aerospace engineering value chain, they have big ambitions to build partnerships and tap defense offsets at various stages of product development. These include design, analysis, optimization and validation, virtual prototyping and testing, digital manufacturing, product data management and technical publications.
A requirement for a military transport to replace 56 HS.748 twin turboprops operated by the Indian Air Force (IAF) is raising procedural problems for potential bidders. India released a Request for Information last December inviting OEMs to bid only if they could find private Indian partners. But candidate Indian companies are reluctant to commit to the project.
India’s Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) has signed a contract with Russia’s United Aircraft Corp Transport Aircraft (UAC-TA) to co-develop the 15- to 20-metric-ton-payload multirole transport aircraft (MTA). The pair formed a joint venture, Multirole Transport Aircraft Ltd, in 2010, following an inter-governmental agreement three years earlier.
Pilatus Aircraft confirmed that the Indian Air Force (IAF) has chosen the Pilatus PC-7 Mk II as its new basic trainer. The Swiss company values the contract, signed on May 24, at more than $525 million. It includes 75 aircraft, an integrated ground-based training system and logistics support. Deliveries will begin in the last quarter of this year.
The joint Indo-Russian project to produce a fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) for the Indian Air Force is facing a two-year delay. It will now take nine years instead of the stipulated seven to develop. The Indian Air Force attributes the delay to Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), which has a workshare of 25 percent in the program.
India’s big-ticket military acquisitions are expected to aggressively push schedules for the transfer of production to the country’s ambitious aerospace and defense industry. But the technology that India expects to be transferred through co-development work generated by offset agreements is raising concerns among vendors about possible violations of intellectual property rights (IPR).
Few coompanies can lay claim to having as many as 10 aircraft planned or under development simultaneously, but India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) is doing just that. However, while the Bangalore-based group’s ambitions may be laudable, it remains to be seen how it will face the formidable challenges of its current and planned projects.
Ruag Aerospace Services is here at NBAA ‘11, exhibiting on the Henderson Executive Airport static display line with an example of something sort of old and something quite new, the “New Generation” Dornier DO 228NG multi-mission turboprop twin.