Naval Air: Dhruv Disappoints

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June 17,2008: Indian military manufacturers continue to experience growing pains, as the Indian Navy announced it would not purchase anymore Indian made Dhruv helicopters. The navy bought six of the Dhruvs for evaluation, and did not like what they saw. The main complaints were lack of engine power, and poor reliability. These were considered fatal flaws for helicopters meant for SAR (search and rescue) and ASW (anti-submarine warfare.)

The 5.5 ton Dhruv was in development for two decades before the first one was delivered six years ago. Since then, nearly 80 have been delivered, mostly to the Indian Army. But some foreign customers (Nepal and Myanmar) have also taken a few. A series of crashes indicates some basic design flaws, which the manufacturer insists does not exist. The navy disagrees, even though the fleet is desperate to replace over three dozen of its elderly Sea King helicopters This is a 1950s design, and the Indian Navy models are 20-35 years old.

 


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