New Delhi, Feb 7 (PTI) Russian Helicopter, a companywhich is part of Russia''s United Industrial Corporation, todayopened a new service centre in Greater Noida in a jointventure to cater to the needs of its choppers in India.
"The new facility would bring down the cost ofservicing for the helicopters, which needed to fly toservicing units in Russia for their periodic maintenance,"Chief Executive Officer of Russian Helicopter Dmitry Petrovtold PTI.
More than 200 military, and six civil helicopters ofRussian origin are presently flying in India. Though India isan old and trusted user of Russian rotor-blade aircraft, therewas no servicing facility in the country so far.
Russian Helicopter had signed the joint venture withIndia-based Vectra Group in July 2008 to open IntegratedHelicopter Services Private Limited (IHSPL).
The facility will initially provide its services tocivil helicopters before entering the defence arena.
"We have a long-term understanding and cooperationwith India. The new facility will boost our future growth inthe country,"he added.
With a cost of Rs 9 crore the IHSPL would be able toprovide 400 hours of servicing initially. Besides maintainingthe civillian helicopters, the company is also planning toservice the military choppers of Russian origin.
"Indian Air Force (IAF) has its own servicing facilitybut we are trying to enter the niche market like servicing ofthe rotor blades. Uptill now Air Force used to send all thechopper blades to Russia, but now we can provide the sameservice here in the country," Ravi Rishi, Chairman, VectraGroup, said.
Talking about the future growth of helicopter markethe said, "We would be bringing in 12 to 15 rotor-bladeaircraft in next two years. These would be Kamov-32 and Mi-171 or 172 helicopters."
These large aircraft can carry up to 20 passengers or8.5 tonne of underslung weight.
The helicopter market in the country is expected toincrease by 20 per cent in the next five years. While newentrants are trying to grab a share in the future market, theexisting ones are increasing their servicing and maintenancebase to boost their presence.
"Presently there are only six helicopters in the civilmarket, but the numbers could increase to more than 50 in nextfive to six years," Rishi said.
On being asked why the Russian Helicopter opted forthe smaller civil helicopter market, when military helicoptershave a bigger dominance in the country, Petrov said, "Becauseof the prevailing military environment in any country, whichis the most conservative for such services." PTI AD