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Ecuador to return 6 Indian Dhruv choppers

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    Ecuador, Oct 30: Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) could face a major setback as the six DHruv Choppers which were grounded on Oct 27, following the involvement of the HAL manufactured Dhruv helicopter in an air crash at air force base near Quito, is likely to be returned to India.

    The incident had raised questions on the fitness of the other six Dhruv helicopters, one of which had been used By President Rafael Correa. the six choppers were grounded until investigations on the crash was over.

    It has been reported three-member team the HAL officials have flown to Ecuador to help in the investigation.

    " A three-member team of senior specialists, including HAL"s chief test pilot, will be reaching Ecuador to provide all necessary assistance in the investigation," a HAL official said.

    However media reports claims that the choppers which were bought at the cost of USD 45 million by Ecuador could be returned to its manufacturer as it was considered as unfit for service.

    If the choppers are returned back then HAL would be losing a major International customer as Ecuador is Dhruv's biggest international customer.

    Chile has already rejected Dhruv, while only nine Dhruv choppers operate in Nepal and Israel. Peru and Turkey are likely to acquire a total of five.

    Refuting doubts on Dhruv's airworthiness, Air Marshal Fali H Major said, "The fact that the crew members managed to survive such a terrible crash shows the survivability of the helicopter and credit must be given to its designers," said Air Marshal Fali H Major, former chief of air staff.

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