Dhruv Helicopters for Ecuador
Hindustan Aeronautics’ Dhruv project aimed to create a light helicopter that was well suited to light helicopter roles in India’s range of weather and altitude conditions. The firm has supplied 76 Dhruvs to India’s armed forces, an armed version has been created, and another 159 are in production for India’s Army and Air Force as a complement to India’s derailed light helicopter competition. The Navy has declined to buy more Dhruvs for its own needs, however, saying that several aspects of the design were not up to naval requirements yet.
HAL signed an agreement with Israel Aircraft Industries in 2004 for global marketing of the helicopter, which contains IAI avionics and Snecma Turbomeca engines. Sales of 1-2 helicopters have been made to Israel, Nepal, and Bolivia for various roles, some Dhruv helicopters have reportedly been transferred to Myanmar by the Indian government, and civilian versions are flying in India and Peru. The helicopter has also been marketed in other places, such as Chile, where it lost to the Bell 412.
Now the Dhruv has reportedly won a $50.7 million Ecuadoran Air Force contract for 7 Advanced Light Helicopters in the face of competition from Israel’s Elbit Systems, EADS Eurocopter, and Russia’s Kazan. India’s Business Standard reports that HAL’s offer was about 32% lower than the second lowest bid, which as reportedly from Elbit Systems. The contract is expected within a few weeks, and the first helicopter will be delivered by HAL in 6 months.