Senin, Februari 15, 2010

India’s helicopter plans take flight

India’s military helicopter requirements have evolved significantly over the past decade. At the turn of the Century, the helicopter fleets of the Army Aviation Corps, Indian Air Force [IAF], and Indian Navy [IN] were largely obsolete, with the vast majority of aircraft well past the end of their service lives, and in urgent need of replacement.

The past decade has brought about a serious strategy for the modernisation of India’s armed forces, and a major part of this has included plans to update its helicopter fleets through a combination of foreign acquisition, indigenous construction, and joint-venture development with leading international manufacturers.

A number of programmes are currently underway to enhance India’s helicopter capabilities in the categories of: light utility, multi-role, combat, attack, medium and heavy lift helicopters. When taken together, these acquisitions will provide India with a varied fleet capable of meeting the challenges of modern warfare.

Although the country’s infamous bureaucracy – and ongoing problems within the Ministry of Defence [MoD] – have made progress at best slow, and at worst non-existent, India’s potential as the biggest developer of helicopter technology in the Asia-Pacific region. In addition, these ambitious procurement plans mean that India will be the biggest market for imported helicopter technology in the world after the United States, and as such India is likely to remain a focus of international attention over the coming decade as the three services move towards achieving their ambitious goals.

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