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Thursday, February 14, 2013

HAL Executes Export Order For Chetak Helicopters To Suriname - Hands Over 2 Of The 3 Contracted

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The handover took place on the 7th of February 2013, during the Aero India 2013 Air show.

HAL-India-Suriname-Chetak-Helicopter-01-R

This order for 3 of these helicopters were facilitated by a $13.4 million USD Line Of Credit that India had extended to the South American nation. This news was reported in the latest issue of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's [HAL] newsletter, the state-owned company building these choppers under license from their French manufacturer, AĆ©rospatiale.

"Adding yet another feather to its cap, HAL handed over two Chetak helicopters to Ministry of Defence, Republic of Suriname at a function held at HAL Stall on February 07, 2013. The handing over comes in line with HAL's agreement with Republic of Suriname to supply three Chetak helicopters.

Shri P. Soundara Rajan, Managing Director, Helicopter Complex, handed over the documents to Mr John Achong, Director of Defense, Republic of Suriname in the presence of Dr R. K. Tyagi, Chairman, HAL. Speaking on the occasion, Shri P. Soundara Rajan informed that HAL has been supplying helicopters to 10 countries and with this HAL has again left a global foot print. The Chairman said that HAL is committed to hand over the aircrafts and helicopters within the time period. Mr John Achong in his address said that the delivery of helicopters by HAL added further teeth to defence preparedness of Republic of Suriname."

As for some reports suggesting that HAL has also exported/is exporting 3 Dhruv helicopters to Suriname, I've certain doubts about the veracity of the news. As claimed, for Suriname's 3 chopper deal amounting to $15.3 million USD, per unit cost would come to $5.1 million USD. Compare that to the verified sale to Ecuador's of 7 Dhruvs for $51 million USD, which brings the unit cost to $7.28 million USD. A difference of more than $2 million USD between the two deals. These deals, compared to the ones India itself engages in during imports, are relatively basic in nature - a direct sale of equipment, along with support that involves training, maintenance & spares. Therefore, one cannot explain such significant difference between the two deals, involving the same platform.  Moreover, a 2009 time for signing the contract for exporting the choppers would culminate in a delivery time of about now, perhaps delayed by a few months to coincide with Aero India.

In all likelihood, the country finally chose to acquire the single-engine Alouette III, instead of the twin engine Dhruv, that is also of a higher weight class, keeping in mind its own requirements & economics. Would want to be proven wrong on this count, though, and see some Dhruvs being exported to Suriname as part of a deal already signed. Nothing builds up good relations between two countries like the sale of military hardware.

Godspeed

Related: India Air Force Helicopter wallpapers


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