Ramp up copter production, Defence Ministry tells HAL

With the armed forces projecting the need for some 700 helicopters — light utility and armed — the Defence Ministry (MoD) has asked the public sector giant Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to ramp up production, speed up existing under-development projects and start out-sourcing work.

The HAL, headquartered at Bengaluru, produces some 22-24 advanced light helicopters (ALH), the Dhruv, annually and some 200 of these are flying; however, the requirement is huge.

In the second phase, rapid production of light utility helicopters (LUH) and light combat helicopter (LCH) will start. Prototypes of both are ready but need operational clearance. The MoD wants HAL to produce up to 85-90 copters per annum of these three types – the Dhruv, LUH and LCH — said sources, while adding that out-sourcing of some work had been suggested on the lines of global manufacturing practices.

Some 100 copters – are needed annually to meet the needs of the three armed forces, the Central Armed Police Forces, the Coast Guard and smaller friendly nations. While HAL continues to be a major player, some of the production can be given to a selected private partner. Read More…

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