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Sikorsky plans to sell choppers to Indian corporate sector

The S-92 helicopter. A Sikorsky photo

HYDERABAD (PTI): Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp, USA, is eyeing the corporate sector of the country to sell its helicopters, besides Indian defence, a top company official has said.

The chopper maker is also set to close a deal of supplying 16 helicopters worth USD 300 to USD 500 million to Indian navy by next year end.

According to AVM Walia, Managing Director Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation- Asia and south Asia, there will be a huge demand of 400 to 500 helicopters in the country.

"There will be a huge requirement of helicopters in various sectors. Oil and natural gas, emergency medical services, pilgrim tourism fields are opening up. In my perspective, there will be a requirement of 400 to 500 helicopters of various categories in India alone. Sikorsky definitely expects good share of it and it may not be very high," Walia told PTI on Tuesday.

He said the company had already supplied five choppers to different corporate and high net worth individuals.

On a question on the defence market, he said, "India is in the threshold of inducting so many helicopters in the next five to seven years and Sikorsky will play a big role."

Walia sees growing demand in tourism and hill station transportation segments besides demand from high net worth individuals.

"People have started realising that traffics in big cities can be avoided with choppers. Besides that pilgrimage sector like Vishnodevi and Amaranth Yatra are picking up.

Presently they are being operated by the Pawan Hans and the demand is growing. And there is demand for various hill stations like Coimbatore to Ooty, Shimla to Chandigarh, Bagdogra to Darjeeling and Bangalore to Mysore," Walia said.

Speaking on the Indian Navy order, he said the company is pursuing the existing pursuits with the Indian navy.

"Hopefully we should be able to go through the core process and close the deal in next 12 to 15 months. We have given our response to their requirement of 16 choppers. We are waiting from them to give a date for flight evaluation. Value could be USD 300 to USD 500 million depending upon final specifications," he said.

Walia said the first set of S-92 helicopter cabins from Tata-Sikorsky joint venture here will roll out by the first week of November.

Sikorsky and Tata Advanced Systems Ltd, a Tata Group company, signed an agreement in June 2009 to produce S-92 helicopter cabins and other components from the facility.


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