Helipartner Thailand and Eurocopter’s South East Asia affiliate signed an agreement on Tuesday at the Paris Air Show for 10 AS350B3e light-single helicopters for delivery from 2013 to 2015. “After our first AS350B3e delivery in May and its successful leasing in Indonesia, we are delighted to expand our fleet with this new order and pursue our leasing market development with the helicopter type,” said Tisanu Ratanarat, CEO of Helipartner Thailand.
India may abandon plans to procure 197 light utility helicopter (LUHs) from abroad for the Indian air force (64) and army (133). Such a decision would favor government-owned defense manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), which is developing its own LUH design based on the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH). The government was already planning to order an additional 187 light utility helicopters to be produced under license by HAL. It is not clear what the time frame for delivery would be, as HAL would need to expand its current production facility, requiring government approval.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has an ambitious plan to design, develop and manufacture 1,500 helicopters in next 10 years. According to a senior HAL official, "100 of those will be advanced light helicopters (ALH), 300 will be light utility helicopters (LUH) and the rest will be multi-role helicopters (MRH)." HAL will invest $4.4 billion to modernize and expand its capacity to execute current orders worth $22 billion.
HAL on March 29 made the first flight of its light combat helicopter (LCH) prototype, conducting hover tests for around 15 minutes at Bangalore, India. At the controls were group captain Unni Pillai and group captain Hari Nair. Ground runs began in early February.