India’s Navy is looking abroad for an anti-submarine warfare helicopter, unsatisfied with the ability of the indigenously built Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter to meet its requirements.
The Indian newspaper The Hindu Times reports the Navy has sent requests for information to Bell Helicopter, Boeing, and Eurocopter, and Dhruv-maker Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. on development and production of a multi-role helicopter
HAL’s inability to meet Navy requirements with the Dhruv, particularly problems maintaining the aircraft in service, has made the Navy look overseas, The Times said. It seeks to acquire a utility helicopter that will perform anti-submarine warfare and communication roles.
The Navy has eight Dhruvs in its fleet and had considered acquiring 60. It needs a replacement for its Sea Kings, HAL-built Chetaks, Kamov Ka-25s — and apparently the Dhruvs — on its surface vessels.
HAL has taken steps to address the service’s concerns, including setting up a dedicated maintenance, repair and overhaul facility for helicopters. It also is developing an upgraded Dhruv powered by an engine based on Turbomeca’s TM333.