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HAL's ALH Dhruv will be manufactured by the private sector

The news comes as HAL is now increasingly looking to outsource its operations to private players across various categories of aircraft
Bengaluru: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) organised a workshop of Indian private players to boost manufacturing of upgraded ALH Dhruv (civil version) under Transfer of Technology. The news comes as HAL is now increasingly looking to outsource its operations to private players across various categories of aircraft produced by the public sector company. The workshop was chaired by Dr Ajay Kumar, Secretary, Defence Production, in the presence of R Madhavan, HAL CMD on Saturday.

Secretary bills collaboration as opportunity

Speaking on the occasion, Kumar allayed concerns over the marketing of ALH civil helicopter. He said India offers a huge opportunity and private sector should grab this by collaborating and improvising, keeping in mind interests of all stakeholders. He also urged HAL to consider some of the suggestions proposed by industry partners. “In fact, I complement HAL for taking this historic step,” he added. “Dhruv has a huge potential in the domestic and global civil market and with HAL as the OEM and licensor, the deal will benefit Indian partners immensely and help develop the aerospace eco-system in India. As of now, India needs at least 600 helicopters in the civil sector,” said Madhavan.

Selected entities would also provide customer support

Earlier in the day, participants gave their feedback and suggestions on HAL’s initiative. A Request for Quotation (RFQ) was issued in April 2019. Under this deal, the selected Indian partner would also be required to provide support to the customers throughout the life of the product (20 years) thereby ensuring long-term business relationship. Prospective bidders, various supply chain partners, industry chambers of commerce like ASSOCHAM, FICCI, CII, Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM), Karnataka State Development Council and Karnataka Udyog Mitra were invited to the workshop.

What is ALH Dhruv?

The Dhruv, Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), indigenously designed & developed by HAL, is a multi-role, multi-mission, new generation helicopter in the 5.5-ton weight class. It is being operated by the defence and civil customers and has already completed more than 2.4 lakhs flying hours.  ALH Mk I version is being operated for civil use for law enforcement, anti-Naxalite, VIP movement and ground survey operations by BSF, the government of Jharkhand, Pawan Hans Helicopter Ltd, GSI, etc.

The backdrop

The news comes just months after HAL CMD said at Aero India 2019 Defence and Aerospace Exhibition that the defence PSU would increase outsourcing to rationalise the use of workforce and bring down the cost of its products. The PSU is struggling to keep its finances in good shape as it awaits payments from the Ministry of Defence and Indian Air Force.