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HAL hands over five choppers to Ecuador

General Commander Rodrigo Bohorquez Flores of the Ecuadorian Air Force is impressed by the VIP configuration ALH that was handed over to Ecuador by HAL. Also in the picture are HAL chairman Ashok K Baweja, Ecuador ambassador to India Carlos Abad and secretary (defence production) Pradeep Kumar. HAL pix

BANGALORE (BNS): Indian aviation major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited on Thursday handed over the first batch of five Advanced Light Helicopters to the Ecuador Air Force.

At a function held at HAL stall in Aero India 2009, HAL Chairman Ashok K Baweja handed over the five ALHs to General Commander Rodrigo Bohorquez Flores of the Ecuadorian Air Force.

“The deal has brought India and Ecuador closer. The talks which began a year ago, have finally borne fruit, with us accepting the first batch of helicopters,” said General Commander Flores.

The General, who was all praise for the ALH, said that Ecuador had asked HAL to participate in the tendering process for the helicopters after seeing the performance of the ALH in air shows. “The class, its manoeuverability and the operational capacity made us settle for the ALHs,” he said. The ALH is perfectly suited for high altitude terrains, he noted with satisfaction, and added that in his country the machine will be used for hoist and rescue operations.

Baweja said that with this deal, HAL has been able to venture into Latin American countries. HAL is also in sales talks with a couple of South American countries.

He assured that the remaining two ALHs will be handed over to Ecuador within the specified time, and HAL would also provide technical and maintenance support in that country.

Ecuadorian Ambassador to India Carlos Abad, Secretary (defence production) Pradeep Kumar, managing director of HAL Bangalore complex Ashok Nayak were among those present at the ceremony.

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