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09/01/2008
India buys 159 Dhruvs helicopters

The Cabinet Committee on Security’s (CCS) approval for procuring 159 Dhruv advanced light helicopters (ALH), at a cost of over Rs. 14,000 crore, for the Army and the Air Force has come as a relief to the manufacturer, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
A senior company official told The Hindu that “HAL was both pleased and relieved” with the clearance, which “fructified mainly due to the efforts of the Defence Ministry and HAL Chairman Ashok Baweja.”
Kept on hold for almost nine months in the face of strong criticism from the armed forces, which cited issues primarily relating to the poor serviceability of the 5.5-tonne helicopter, HAL, according to senior officials, initiated a number of steps to convince the CCS to give its nod for the purchase.
The consent has paved the way for signing formal contracts between the customers and HAL, with deliveries of the 159 machines expected to be spread over the next five years — through the XI Five Year Plan and the first year of the XII Plan. Of the 159 helicopters, 105 are for the Army and the rest for the Air Force.
Dhruv is a versatile machine that can perform admirably at both the sea level and at altitudes as high as 6 and 7 km.

Source: The Hindu





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