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.
Indian Air Force
Embraer Defense and Security delivered the first of three EMB-145 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft to the government of India on August 13. The aircraft, fitted with an Indian-developed airborne early warning radar, was delivered at Embraer’s headquarters in São José dos Campos, Brazil.
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.
The much-delayed revision to the Indian Ministry of Defence offset guidelines has been released and will take effect immediately. But it will apply only to new solicitations. A newly formed agency, the Defense Offset Management Wing (DOMW), will handle offset contract management.
For the first time, India’s defense offset policy defines objectives that include the development of competitive industries, the need to add R&D and design capabilities and the development of synergistic sectors. The policy now includes coastal security, in addition to internal security.
The Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) selected Pilatus to provide a complete pilot training system based on the PC-21 turboprop trainer. The package will include ground-based training devices and extensive logistics support and maintenance. The newly established QEAF air academy will receive the first of 24 aircraft in 2014 so that training can start in mid-2015. Pilatus has signed a long-term performance-based support contract.
Recent upgrades to India’s Defense Procurement Policy (DPP) 2011 that are to be incorporated in DPP 2012 could soon allow foreign vendors to buy from Indian companies assemblies that contain foreign content while getting credit for the entire assembly, as long as the content is paid for in rupees.
Boeing has expressed in no uncertain terms to AIN the pain of having to honor offsets in India and the challenge of managing a constantly shifting policy landscape. The growing Indian defense budget ($44 billion by 2016) may be attractive but it would seem that the trials and tribulations being faced by initial winners such as Boeing could be a significant downside for the foreseeable future.
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.