Indian Army Considers Leasing Choppers To Modernize Its Aging Fleet

The Army is looking for replacements and is even thinking about hiring to get new light helicopters because its current fleet of Cheetah and Chetak choppers will be retired in four years. The Army needs 250 light planes to keep troops in good shape all over the country, even at border posts on the Siachen glacier that are very high up.

Officials who know about the situation said that the current fleet will need to be replaced over the next 10 to 12 years. The Army wants to buy 100 of the Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) made in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

“A two-pronged approach has been taken to replace Cheetahs and Chetaks in Army aviation.” Officials said, “We are moving forward with the introduction of LUHs and also looking at other replacement helicopters.” They also said that renting helicopters for short periods of time is another choice.

The Army put out a call for companies interested in renting the light helicopters, and officials say that several companies have responded positively. Sources say, “We will move on to the next step of putting out bids and then selection in due time.” They also say that the focus will be on making things in India and using goods made in India.

Light helicopters are going to be hard to come by in the next few years, so the Army is looking into leasing choices. This is because of the failure of an agreement between India and Russia to make Ka226 helicopters in India. In 2015, a deal was made to share technology and make 200 of the helicopters, but the project never got off the ground. It hasn’t been publicly put on hold, but it’s not likely to go any further than a memorandum of understanding.

The indigenous LUH, on the other hand, will work in high-altitude places and should be given to the Army in the next few years. Sources say that the LUH now has an autopilot that has been fully installed and is under testing. They also said that the copter needed an autopilot before it could be used in tough circumstances.

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