Army hurries chopper deal

Discussion in 'Indian Army' started by Galaxy, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

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    Army hurries chopper deal

    SUMAN SHARMA NEW DELHI | 27th Nov

    [​IMG]

    The Ministry of Defence (MoD), in a hurry to acquire 197 light utility helicopters, has decided to drop the crucial requirement of High Altitude Hover-Out-Of-Ground-Effect (HOGE) at 6,000-metre pressure altitude, from the tender for a Rs 3000 cr deal. These choppers will replace 1970s vintage Chetaks and Cheetahs. This clause has delayed the purchase for years, as contenders could not meet the requirement. As a result, the helicopters will not be able to hover in high-altitude war zones like the Siachen Glacier.

    The Defence Procurement Board (DPB), chaired by the Defence Secretary, told the Army on Monday to do away with this requirement in the Request for Proposal (RFP), or tender, so that the process moves forward.

    Senior military experts believe, however, that this absence will not be a major operational hurdle.

    Former Air Chief Fali H. Major, who has been a helicopter pilot in the IAF, told The Sunday Guardian, "This was an overrated QR (qualitative requirement), and is not required in the Indian context. It's an operational requirement, but if it's not there, it won't affect operations, and if a chopper can hover up to 5 km out of ground, it's good enough."

    Former Air Chief S. Krishnaswamy said, "I am not sure if many helicopters can fulfil this requirement, very few people in the world can do it. It was definitely a stringent operational requirement. With a practical payload if a chopper can hover close to ground, it is good enough."

    Of the 197 helicopters meant for reconnaissance, surveillance and logistic support, 64 are for the IAF, while the remaining 133 are for the Army. The total number of helicopters is 384, of which 197 will be purchased and the remaining 187 will be produced under licence by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Initially, there were five contenders — Eurocopter, Bell Helicopters, Agusta Westland, and Russian Kamov. The final competition is now between Russian Kamov 226T offered by ROE and AS550C3 offered by Eurocopter.

    There has been a clash of opinion between the IAF and the Indian Army over this procurement, as the Army was made the lead service in this deal, while the IAF had argued that it should be made the lead service as it had the infrastructure for evaluation and testing of critical parameters such as the high altitude HOGE in these choppers.

    The new helicopters will be used for high altitude surveillance and logistics. The delay has hit the Indian Army's modernisation plans. The helicopter inventory of the Army is diminishing and procurement of these 197 choppers is said to be very critical in terms of operational necessity and defence preparedness.

    The deal has been marred by controversies, irregularities, anonymous complaints about middlemen, kickbacks and procurement deviations. In the interests of transparency the MoD had cancelled the tender in 2007, when the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) asked it to submit an explanation following an unprecedented objection raised by former National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan. The submitted report showed that the procurement process did not follow set down guidelines.

    The tender was re-issued in July 2008, and the short-listed candidates again showed deviations. One deviation shown by Eurocopter was that it would require permanent attachments for carrying two stretchers and removal of the co-pilot's seat. Russian ROE's Kamov 226T had deviations with regard to its empty weight and size.

    A major problem for ROE was that the engine to be fitted on Kamov 226T would be Arrius 2G1, which was not yet certified. Yet another short-listed vendor, who was later shown the door, was Anglo-Italian Agusta Westland, which appealed to the MoD to consider the difference in the nomenclature of the engine of AW119, which was fielded. After coming close to a second cancellation last year in May, the procurement process went ahead with Eurocopter and Kamov, with Agusta being ousted from the competition.

    Eurocopter already has business tie-ups with the state-owned HAL. The contract will follow the old Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP-2006), and will have to fulfil a 50% offset obligation as per the tender requirement.

    The old tender got cancelled in December 2007, at the behest of the MoD, after middlemen, kickbacks and procurement deviations came to light. The 197 choppers in the old tender were meant only for the Army, but later the IAF too pitched in with their requirement of the same class of choppers, and a joint tender was decided on.

    Army hurries chopper deal
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011
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  3. Zebra

    Zebra Senior Member Senior Member

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    AS 550 Fennec

    The Eurocopter AS 550 Fennec single-engine helicopter is operational with the Singapore armed forces, the Royal Australian Army, the Brazilian Army and Air Force, the Danish Army, the French Army and the United Arab Emirates Army. The helicopter first entered into service in 1990.

    The Fennec belongs to the Ecureuil / Fennec family of helicopters which includes: the single-engine military AS 550 Fennec and civil AS 350 Ecureuil; twin-engine naval AS 555 Fennec and civil AS 355 Ecureuil; and the civil EC 130 single-engine helicopter.

    The AS550 Fennec can be fitted for anti-tank, air-to-air combat, ground support and training missions and it is also used in the utility transportation role. The combat version is called the AS 550C3.

    The helicopters are in production at Eurocopter's engineering and production facilities at Marignane in France, and they are also built under licensed production agreements in Brazil and in China.

    Orders and deliveries

    Over 3,150 Fennec helicopters have been ordered, of which 2,500 have been delivered and are operational in over 70 countries.
    The delivery of six AS 550 Fennec helicopters to the UAE Air Force was completed in 2008, while the Pakistan Army procured an additional AS 550 Fennec in early 2009.

    The AS550 Fennec can be fitted for anti-tank, air-to-air combat, ground support and training missions and it is also used in the utility transportation role. The combat version is called the AS 550C3.
    A proposed order of 197 Fennec helicopters by India was cancelled in December 2007 due to discrepancy in the bidding process.

    AS 550 Fennec design

    The AS 550 is of light construction based on a reinforced high-strength glass fibre and aramid airframe. The Starflex main rotor head and blades are also of composite materials for added strength and weight reduction. The engine cowlings are armoured for protection.

    The helicopter is fitted with armoured seats and can carry the pilot and up to five troops. The cabin can also be configured for medical evacuation with capacity for one stretcher patient and two doctors. For cargo carrying, the cabin can take a 3m³ load.

    "The combat version of the AS 550 is called the AS 550C3."The military AS 550 is fitted with sliding doors on each side rather than the hinged door fitted on the civil AS 350 variant. The 1m³ baggage compartment is installed behind the main cabin and is accessed via a door on the starboard side.

    A cargo sling, rated at 1,160kg, and a 204kg hoist can be used.

    AS 550 cockpit systems

    The cockpit is equipped with single controls and is night-vision compatible. The navigation suite includes a global positioning system (GPS), a VHF omnidirectional radio ranger and instrument landing system (VOR/ILS), an automatic direction finder (ADF), distance measuring equipment (DME) and a marker beacon transponder. The secure communications systems are fitted according to the customer country's specification.
    The pilot has a vehicle and engine multifunction display which allows shows the main vehicle and engine parameters on a dual LCD screen.

    Fennec weapons systems

    The helicopter is fitted with a wide range of weapon systems to suit the operational requirements of the country's forces. Weapon fits include anti-tank missiles, rockets or guns. The Danish Army AS 550C2 helicopters are armed with the Systems & Electronics (formerly ESCO) HeliTOW sighting system and TOW anti-tank missiles. The HeliTOW sight is roof-mounted and contains direct view optics, day and/or night sight and laser rangefinder.

    The AS 550 can be fitted with two Forges de Zeebrugge rocket launchers which carry seven 2.75in rockets each, or two Thales Brandt 68mm launchers with 12 rockets each. The helicopter has been fitted with the Giat 20mm gun type M621, and the FN Hershal twin 7.62mm and 12.7mm machine gun pod.

    The surveillance and observation systems include a forward-looking infrared (FLIR), optical cameras and Spectrolab SX 16 searchlights. Thales Detexis EWR-99 radar warning receiver and Alkan ELIPS countermeasures dispenser can be fitted.

    "The AS 550 construction is based on a reinforced high-strength glass fibre and aramid airframe."Engines
    The AS 550 is powered by a single Turbomeca Arril 2B engine, which provides 632kW of take-off power. The engine is fitted with full authority digital engine control (FADEC). The FADEC system reduces the work load of the pilot as well as the fuel consumption. The main gearbox has a 45-minute dry run capability.

    The self-sealing plastic fuel tank has a capacity of 540l. An auxiliary fuel tank can be installed in the cabin to provide an additional 475l of fuel for extended-range operations.

    Performance

    The AS 550 can climb at the rate of 9.8m a second. The maximum and cruise speeds of the helicopter are 287km/h and 258km/h respectively, while the range and service ceiling of the helicopter are 666km and 7,000m respectively.

    The maximum altitude of the helicopter is 7,000m and the endurance is four hours and seven minutes.

    The AS 550 weighs around 1,202kg and the maximum take-off weight of the helicopter is 2,250kg.

    Landing gear
    The helicopter has steel tube skid-type landing gear. Emergency flotation gear is fitted for operation over water.

    AS 550 Fennec - Airforce Technology
     
  4. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    And they are still calling it High alt observation logistic helo ?
     
  5. indian_sukhoi

    indian_sukhoi Regular Member

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    Afraid the need to urgent Light helicopters is choking HAL LOH helicopter
     
  6. lemontree

    lemontree Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    What is wrong with the Dhruv? Why can't they use the ALH for these missions?
     
  7. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    Too Slow manufacturing process..

    Though its very capable..
     
  8. Zebra

    Zebra Senior Member Senior Member

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    HAL should start few more plants for helos . For their own products . So we can get more in short time .
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011
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  9. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    Same for HVFs..
     
  10. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

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    Slow manufacturing, Slow acquisition process, Slow decision making ability is symbol of MoD and HAL.

    20 years and only 100 odd Dhruv heli operating.

    But see the future, Everything is in pipeline. LCH, Rudra, Utility helicopter, Light Observation helicopter. Future is always bright but present is always dark. I am seeing such things for last many years.

    We are Buying 22 or 44 Attack Heli @ 1.5/3 Bn $
    We are Buying 12-24 heavy transport Heli @ 1/2 Bn $
    We are Buying 130+ light transport Heli Mi-17 @ 1.5 Bn $.
    We are Buying 197 utility heli @ 1-1.5 Bn $
    We are Buying 100 heavy Heli + utility heli for Indian Navy. @ 1.5 Bn $.

    So, what's HAL is doing ?? making 7-10 Dhruv utility heli per year which is not even 10% of our requirement ??

    If we can make quality helicopter, then why not starts 3-4 unit, place order for 5 Bn $ in 1 go and increase R&D fund ???

    They started working on UCAV, 6th generation aircraft but not bothered to manufacture UAV and 4th generation aircraft. Again it's future.

    Neither HAL is serious nor MoD. HAL has become joke these days so MoD.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011
  11. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    Such a nice Helo Dhruv, Sad to see such conditions..
     
  12. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

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    I failed to understand why they not starting few more plants for various kind of helos when we need lots of heli. We even have technology also.

    Why not start 2-3 more plants and make 500 Heli (LCH, Transport, Utility, Light observation heli) in 5-6 years ?? It won't cost more than 3-4 bn $ and it would be cheap compare to what we buying with never ending process.
     
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  13. debasree

    debasree Regular Member

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    as usual the word fitted most , "ghar ka murgi dal barabar" the army brass so much fond of all things foreign ,its not exceptional.
     
  14. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    Army is looking outside and the mentality coz some problem exist with HAL and MOD ?

    Army have tendency to look outside but that`s changed..
     
  15. Virendra

    Virendra Moderator Moderator

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    I remember watching Dhruv shown proudly in the HAL hoardings on main streets of Bangalore :)
     

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