M A I N   N E W S

Dhruv copters subjected to thorough check
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 5
Shying short of admitting that the indigenously-built Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv had been grounded the Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials today said that thorough checks were being carried out on the chopper which was being inducted into the armed forces and offered for sale abroad, following the crash of one of them in Hyderabad recently.

Although the officials agreed that it could take some time before the choppers could actually take to air as there was a major problem with the composite bearingless tail rotor, officials said that a team of specialists from Hindustan Aeronautical Limited and technicians had been flown to undertake the checks of the Advanced Light Helicopters now flying with the Army, IAF and Navy.

The Tribune had yesterday reported that the Indian armed forces had grounded the Dhruv following the crash at Hyderabad of a chopper which was meant for the Jharkhand Government. A total of 46 choppers with the three armed forces — Army, Navy and the Air Force — have been grounded by them following emergence of the fault in the tail rotor. Sources said that it would not be possible to rectify the defect immediately. The strengthening of the rotor would be required only after which a clearance would be given for them to take to air again.

However some officials maintained that some of the choppers with the Army had already been cleared for flying. These helicopters have been cleared for display at the upcoming air shows in Dubai and other international aero shows, they said.

“As a matter of abundant caution with all new equipment, the checks are being undertaken by the equipment manufacturers HAL and the exercise would be completed soon”, they said.

While the Army has about 20 ALHs, the IAF has about 16 and another 10 are with the Navy. The IAF has also constituted a helicopter aerobatic display team comprising the Dhruvs.

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