Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Once again, the delayed Light Utility Helicopter deal

Once again, the delayed Light Utility Helicopter deal

    The Armed forces using modified French designed Alouette helicopters for utility purposes, the Helicopter later entered into serial production in India, those helicopters are inducted into Indian armed forces early 1970's, the major operator is the Navy and Air force, Utility helicopters must for every armed forces, where they can be used for many missions, include war time operations like resupply and light reconnaissance, those  helicopters are best in earlier days, contributed very well during major wartime and peacetime,  now more than decades those helicopters must be replaced with newer helicopters.

    Currently more than 300 such helicopters used by the armed forces and still HAL producing some units for coast guard and other para military units, however those helicopter lacks some modern technologies which can be used in front line operations, and the Army also wanted such light helicopters for utility purpose, they don't want the older Chetaks they asked much modern version Helicopters, their numbers should come hundreds, and the other para military units also asked the government to buy some light helicopters for utility purpose,

    So the Government announces a Light utility helicopter contract, involving global vendors, at first the numbers are some 200 helicopters, the governments sticks because of large order major number of Helicopters should be produced in India under transfer of Technology, the first such contract announced early 2009, and many foreign companies offered their light helicopters, however the government cancelled the tender without mentioning the issues, after heavy voices from Armed forces the government once again floated the same RFP, the same saga repeats, Government cancelled the tender.

Early 2014, the Armed forces raises it's concerns about replace those vintage Chetak and Cheetah variants from service, which means more than 200 such helicopters needs to be replaced, and they sticks with the same requirement what the army and other paramilitary forces suggested for utility purpose, so mass producing single model helicopters can save logistics costs and maintenance issues, and told the Ministry that combined order of some 400 light helicopters needed for Armed forces, thus makes another RFP of Light Utility deal in 2015,

    The New government takes some positive steps, under new defense procurement procedures and direct involvement of private defense sectors into the defense industry, under the new RFP, government says the selected contender should join with Indian private company to mass produce those helicopters in India, which include Indian spares parts.

   The new huge order brings the French Airbus, American Bell and Russian Kamov bit closer, all of them offered their products, and the Government and armed forces shortlisted Russian Kamov and selected its modern Ka 226 T, meantime Reliance already made an agreement with the Kamov to manufacture those helicopter in India,

   The Ka 226 T is selected  in many reasons, from Engines to it's high altitude performance and it's retractable troop sitting cabin, which can be removed and to be used to lift high amount of cargo, and the Kamov don't have the tail rotor, makes sufficient for operating forward bases in high altitude bases like Siachin and Leh, the announcement made just after the Aero India.

   However till now the contract can't be made with Kamov, Reliance already informed the government that they ready to build the helicopters under license and already setup-ed infrastructures, they just need the orders and contract only before producing those helicopters in mass numbers, and still now the agreement and contract hasn't been signed with Kamov and Reliance, and they announced that they will roles out helicopters within ten months once the contract is signed,

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