IAF to induct over 230 choppers

Ajit K Dubey

Bangalore, Feb 10 (PTI) Modernising its fleet ofhelicopters, the Indian Air Force today said it was looking toacquire more than 230 choppers in the near future.

Addressing a press conference at the Aero India, AirChief marshal P V Naik said the force is in the process ofacquiring helicopters of different types and size in the nextcouple of years.

"We are acquiring 12 AW 101 VVIP helicopters, trialsfor 22 attack choppers are completed, 80 Mi-17 IV helicoptersare being inducted and 50 odd would be added in near future,trials for 12 heavy-lift choppers are also in the final stageand would be completed soon," he said.

Naik said the Field Evaluation Trials (FETs) forprocuring 197 helicopters for the Army and the Navy were alsoover and the report was expected to be submitted to it in thenext couple of weeks. Of the 197, the IAf would receive over55 helicopters.

For the attack helicopters, Russian Mi-28 and AmericanApache 64 D Longbow are facing each other and the IAF chiefsaid the trials were over and a report in this regard wasexpected in the next two weeks.

Under the LUH programme, the Army has conducted trialsof the Russian Ka-226 and the Eurocopter Fennec and would sendits report to the IAF soon.

Commenting on the reports suggesting that US wouldoffer high end technology to India, the IAF chief said thesereports should be taken "with a pinch of salt" as it was notknown to whom such offers were made by the Americans.

On the upgrades to be carried out on the Su-30MKI, theIAf chief said the aircraft would have state-of-the-artequipment and the HAL, DRDO and Russian manufactures wereinvolved in the development of AESA radar also for the airsuperiority fighter.

AESA radar is the most modern radar and is also one ofthe IAF''s requirements for networking its assets and sensors.

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