Insight: Indian Helicopter Dreams Produce Nightmares

The Indian military’s seemingly endless pursuit of new helicopters is a sorry tale of woe for both the armed forces and for foreign OEMs wanting to cash in on this large market. Attempting to make sense of where current requirements are at, Shephard spoke to a number of helicopter companies at DefExpo 2018 earlier this month and was told of five major requirements.

First is the Naval Utility Helicopter (NUH) project, where 111 aircraft to be built under the ‘Make in India’ policy are needed for the Indian Navy (IN). The NUH is a 4.5-5t intermediate-class helicopter, and an RfI was issued on 22 August 2017.

Ashish Saraf, VP of Airbus Helicopters’ industry development, strategic partnerships and offsets, said his company has responded with two options: the higher-end AS565 MBe Panther and the H135M as a lower-cost option. Saraf said both platforms meet specifications, and that this NUH requirement was presently a key focus for the OEM in India.

Airbus has partnered with Mahindra Defence Systems, and the company is offering to close its Panther assembly line in Marseilles and set it up in India to serve global demand. Saraf said a decision on transfer of technology to India is expected later this year. Read More

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