Dhruv helicopters, at a package cost of $ 50 millions, is finding itself
beset with problems even as the last consignment of two helicopters has
barely arrived in the country.
According to the aviation sources, one of the inducted Dhruv helicopters
crashed last year while two others have been grounded on account of
malfunctioning of over-speed management unit (OMU).
While the Ecuadorian Air Force is plagued by Dhruv related maintenance
issues, its difficulties have been compounded by exorbitant repair cost
demanded by Indian manufacturers.
The original US company that manufactures the OMU, charges $100000 as
the repair cost while the Indians have demanded $250000 for the same
India has also raised the price of two additional Dhruvs that the EAF
had originally planned as additional follow through acquisitions;
demanding $ 12 million apiece.
The EAF has informed the Indian government that because of cost issues,
maintenance problems, under par flight performance and poor post sale
spare support it is considering cancelling further orders for induction
of Dhruv helicopters.
According to observers the disappointing Ecuadorian experience with the
Dhruv Helicopters doesn’t augur well for the Indian efforts to find a
toe hold in South American countries for its aviation products.
It is bound to have its negative fallout as other South American
governments; Columbia, Brazil and Chile, who were contemplating
induction of Dhruv helicopters in their respective air forces, are now
certain to revisit such plans.
Dhruv is not only accident prone, overly priced and having maintenance
support issues, it also comes with the Indian tendency of creating
dependence and over invoicing, which make even costlier options from
other countries more palatable, say observers.