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HAL cancels tender for co-developing choppers


Mi-17 of Indian Air force to be replaced with medium-lift helicopter.

NEW DELHI (PTI): India's plans to get an indigenous medium-lift helicopter have received a setback as its premier aerospace company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has cancelled a tender to select a global partner for co-developing the 10-12 tonne class choppers for the armed forces.

HAL had released the tender for selecting a partner for co-developing the chopper for both civilian and military markets and French Company Eurocopter and Russian Mil were shortlisted for the contract.

However, the tender was cancelled as the armed forces' specifications for their requirements in the chopper were changed during the tender process, Defence Ministry sources told PTI.

The medium-lift helicopter development plan is being undertaken by HAL to replace the older versions of the Russian Mi-17s flying with the Indian Air Force and the Army.

The to-be developed choppers will be mainly used by the Army and the IAF to maintain the Indian troops in high altitude regions, carrying out rescue and relief operations and transportation of cargo and troops.

"It would have been good for the Navy also. This would have been their first indigenously developed chopper as they don't have the ALH Dhruvs on board their ships," the defence sources said.

HAL was also looking to export the choppers as they were being co-developed with a foreign partner. HAL is working on co-developing Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) also in collaboration with a foreign partner. The LUH will be a 3-tonne light helicopter for the Army and the IAF for replacing their fleet of 'Cheetah' and 'Chetak'.

"We are in the preliminary stages in the project and are working on the design of the LUH. This would be a 3-tonne helicopter with a single engine," sources said.

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