October 13, 2015

India to have three lines of light military choppers under ‘Make in India'

Indian requirement for light choppers is in excess of 800 with the older Cheetah/Chetak fleet moving towards the end of its service life.  While a competition to replace the choppers had been on in various forms since 2005, in a surprise move, the government announced a direct deal with Russia in May for 200 of the Ka 226 helicopters.  Sources said the Russian deal has, however, not progressed satisfactorily, as Moscow has not yet responded with full details of technical specifications and production plans in India since a formal letter was issued in May.
 This had left doubts on whether a parallel competition for similar light choppers that more than a dozen Indian private companies including Tata, Mahindra, L&T and Reliance Defence Systems are bidding for would continue.  "The requirement is so large that a single line is not adequate. We will need to have more than one type of chopper just to meet our needs. Besides, the commercial market for these choppers is also large," a senior official told ET, adding that a 'western line' is fully in the picture.


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