Navy might take light utility helicopters on lease

[h3] [/h3] [h3] [/h3] NEW DELHI: After maritime monitoring drones, the Navy is considering taking light utility helicopters on lease to plug a crucial ability space in frontline warships. The plan is to utilize the freshly instituted lease option in the procurement policy as a make-shift plan as a program to manufacture marine utility helicopters in India under the tactical partnership model is still lingering.Sources stated that foreign suppliers have been approached by the Navy to comprehend if such choppers– usually used to carry supplies and personnel between ships with a secondary surveillance function– would be offered for short-term lease.The Navy is seeking to rent 12-18 choppers on an immediate basis where the maintenance would be done by the vendor however the helicopters would be run by a service team. While official tenders to initiate the process are yet to be issued, the Navy is taking a look at a four-year lease to meet immediate needs.There is a severe shortage of such helicopters in the Navy that had been depending on its aging fleet of Chetak choppers for a ship borne function. With the indigenous Advanced Light Helicopters(ALH) unable to operate from smaller vessels due to their size, frontline warships being commissioned suffer a distinct ability gap.Sources said that strategies as of now are to take just the choppers on lease, which would later on be retrofitted with light weapons by the Navy, according to its requirement. The choppers are most likely to be armed just with a gatling gun throughout the lease period.The Navy has actually been pursuing a Rs 21,000 crore Make in India agreement to obtain Naval Utility Helicopters(NUH)but the program has actually been postponed after issues over the entry of public sector unit Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). While the Navy is not in favour of HALs inclusion, arguing that there is an alarming need to develop alternative ability in the economic sector to produce modern-day aircraft, HAL has actually been pressing the case for a marine version of the Advanced Light Helicopter( ALH). The navy is already operating the ALH in an utility function however needs 111 helicopters for implementation onboard ships to carry out multiple roles, consisting of surveillance and transporting products. The requirement is immediate and a specialised chopper is required that can be rapidly deployed and recovered and can be stored in the area constrained garage onboard all vessels.The procedure to acquire the choppers is currently in innovative phases with 4 Indian business shortlisted who can partner with a foreign innovation supplier to make the helicopters locally.

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