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Ecuadorian Air Force will sell-off HAL Dhruv helicopters
March 30, 2017
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited Dhruv lightweight utility helicopter.

Ecuadorian Air Force will sell-off HAL Dhruv helicopters

The Ecuadorian Air Force has put up its three Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Dhruv helicopters for sale, which it had acquired in 2009 for its utility transport needs (IHS Jane’s).

The announcement was made by the country’s Minister of Defence Ricardo Patiño last week on Thursday.

Ecuador acquired seven Dhruv helicopters from HAL in 2009 under a $45 million U.S. deal.

Since 2009, four of the seven helicopters had succumbed to accidents, which had resulted in the collective deaths of three military personnel. Thus, the Ecuadorian Air Force grounded its Dhruv fleet, and as of last week, it is seeking to sell off its remaining helicopters.

As per the Times of India (TOI), Ecuador also terminated the Dhruv contract it had with HAL.

TOI also noted that two of the crashes were seemingly a result of pilot error, whilst two could be blamed on mechanical failures.

Notes & Comments:

The HAL Dhruv has had technical issues, even in India. As of 2016, the Indian Air Force (IAF) grounded its Dhruv fleet three times because of technical issues. Within India, it is not clear if this will be blamed upon HAL in terms of quality control during the production process or from a design standpoint.

With the Kamov Ka-226T scheduled to enter production in India in the medium-term and the Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) progressing through the development pipeline, the Dhruv will no longer be the mainstay light utility helicopter platform, be it for domestic use in India or the export market.

Nonetheless, the Dhruv episode may contribute to the increasingly strong drive to depend on upon India’s private defence players, such as Tata Advanced Systems (TASL), especially in the long-term as primary contractors for major works, such as airframe production.

  • HARSH V ADITYA ( EX ECHELON 4)

    Its poor professionalism on part of Ecuadorian air force that they can’t handle it. Meanwhile around 180 dhruvs are in use by Indian armed forces and various civilian bodies and they are doing quite well. Almost 120 dhruvs including its armed version are on order by armed forces and 50+ by various other private and government establishments.

    Anyways I can understand the unprecedented joy this episode may give to residents on other side of border.

    • AMAN

      In November 2005, a Dhruv crash-landed in Andhra Pradesh, causing the entire fleet to be grounded; the subsequent probe found a fault with the helicopter’s tail rotor blades, which has since been corrected.[23][24]

      On 2 February 2007, during rehearsals prior to Aero India, a HAL Dhruv of the Sarang helicopter display team of the Indian Air Force crashed, killing co-pilot Squadron Leader Priye Sharma and injuring the pilot Wing Commander Vikas Jetley.[122] After being in a coma for almost four years, Vikas Jetley died in January 2011.[123] The helicopter team continued to perform in the air show.[124]

      In October 2009, an Ecuadorian Air Force Dhruv flew into the ground near Quito while attempting formation flight with two other helicopters. The remaining six aircraft were grounded during the investigation, which later concluded pilot error to be the cause.[125]

      In February 2010, an Indian Air Force Dhruv was forced to make a crash landing after suffering a loss of power while rehearsing for the “Vayu Shakti” air show; both pilots survived.[23]

      On 14 December 2010, a Dhruv crashed in Jammu injuring all 9 personnel on board.[126]

      On 22 December 2010, a Dhruv crashed in Leh injuring both pilots.[126]

      On 21 April 2011, four army personnel were killed when a Dhruv crashed in north Sikkim. Initial reports pointed to weather as the cause, but a court of inquiry was established to ascertain the exact cause.[127]

      On 19 October 2011, an Indian Border Security Force (BSF) Dhruv (VT-BSH) crashed in north-east India, resulting in the deaths of the three crew on board.[128] The cause of the crash was found to be pilot error due to spatial disorientation.[129]

      On 15 January 2012, a BSF Dhruv (VT-BSN) crashed on the runway at Raipur airport during a test flight; there were no deaths but all five of the crew on board were injured.[130] Investigation by DGCA has concluded that the crash was caused by pilot error.[131] Inadequacies in training of flight crew had been identified.

      On 5 April 2012, a Dhruv was heavily damaged by Maoists who fired upon the helicopter [132]

      On 13 May 2013, a Dhruv crashed in Siachen injuring the pilot and co-pilot [133]

      On 19 December 2013, a Dhruv armed with weapons made an emergency landing in Karnataka.[134]

      On 22 February 2014, an Ecuadorian Air Force Dhruv often used as a presidential transport crashed in the Chimborazo region. The pilot Captain Fabian Pazos Narvaez survived, but three military officials were killed. The incident is under investigation.[135][136]

      On 25 July 2014, an Indian Air Force Dhruv crashed near Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh, India. All seven on board were killed. It had been tracked from the ATC of a Delhi air force station until contact with the aircraft was suddenly lost. A mayday call from the pilots appeared to highlight a mechanical failure as the cause. The IAF ordered a court of inquiry to establish the cause of the crash.[137]

      On 13 January 2015, an Ecuadorian Air Force Dhruv crashed injuring 2 crew members [138]

      On 28 January 2015, an Ecuadorian Air Force Dhruv crashed injuring 4 crew members [138]

      On 11 February 2015, an Indian Army Dhruv crashed in Jammu&Kashmir, killing 2 crew members.

      “Its poor professionalism on part of Ecuadorian air force that they can’t handle it.”
      if they are poor professionals then what about Indian air force?
      There are so many crashes by IAF too.
      It caused so many Deaths.
      The reality is — Safety in This helicopter is Questionable(????????????)

      They are doing right and I appreciate their decision to Sell of this crap !!!!!!!!!

      • MT

        HAL has always been shoddy menial manufacturer.

        Quote : “Eleven mishaps occurred in India and five abroad, says Minister

        There have been 16 accidents involving the indigenously built Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) ever since the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited began producing them in 2002, the government informed Parliament on Tuesday.

        Of the accidents, two of them are civilian variants. Eleven accidents occurred in India and five abroad.

        “Out of 16 accidents, 12 occurred due to human error and environmental factors and the remaining four occurred due to technical reasons,” Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.

        Lately, Dhruv helis are doing good for last 18months.It seems that HAL sold the helis to Ecuador before fixing all flaws with rotors and low quality spare parts

        In last 2yrs, HAL is moving towards outsourcing most of its components,parts business to pvt sector who follows six sigma certification

      • Salman Khan

        Aman, I just love you man!! 😀

        • AMAN

          Thanks Brother I love you too!!!!

      • Mohammad Ishaq

        Dhruv crash record
        1. In November 2005, a Dhruv crash-landed in Andhra Pradesh.
        2. On 2 February 2007, during rehearsals prior to Aero India, a HAL Dhruv of the Sarang helicopter display team of the Indian Air Force crashed, killing co-pilot Squadron Leader Priye Sharma and injuring the pilot Wing Commander Vikas Jetley.
        3. In October 2009, an Ecuadorian Air Force Dhruv flew into the ground near Quito while attempting formation flight with two other helicopters.
        4. In February 2010, an Indian Air Force Dhruv was forced to make a crash landing after suffering a loss of power while rehearsing for the “Vayu Shakti” air show;
        5. On 14 December 2010, a Dhruv crashed in Jammu injuring all 9 personnel on board.
        6. On 22 December 2010, a Dhruv crashed in Leh injuring both pilots.
        7. On 21 April 2011, four army personnel were killed when a Dhruv crashed in north Sikkim.
        8. On 19 October 2011, an Indian Border Security Force (BSF) Dhruv (VT-BSH) crashed in north-east India, resulting in the deaths of the three crew on board.
        9. On 15 January 2012, a BSF Dhruv (VT-BSN) crashed on the runway at Raipur airport during a test flight; all five of the crew on board were injured.
        10. On 5 April 2012, a Dhruv was heavily damaged by Maoists who fired upon the helicopter
        11. On 13 May 2013, a Dhruv crashed in Siachen injuring the pilot and co-pilot
        12. On 19 December 2013, a Dhruv armed with weapons made an emergency landing in Karnataka.
        13. On 22 February 2014, an Ecuadorian Air Force Dhruv often used as a presidential transport crashed in the Chimborazo region. The pilot Captain Fabian Pazos Narvaez survived, but three military officials were killed.
        14. On 25 July 2014, an Indian Air Force Dhruv crashed near Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh, India. All seven on board were killed.
        15. On 13 January 2015, an Ecuadorian Air Force Dhruv crashed injuring 2 crew members
        16. On 28 January 2015, an Ecuadorian Air Force Dhruv crashed injuring 4 crew members
        17. On 11 February 2015, an Indian Army Dhruv crashed in Jammu & Kashmir, killing 2 crew members

        • Dev

          Would be interesting to see the same stats for Bell/Sikorzky etc..
          What is your point anyway?

  • aar

    ALH and KA-226 are of different class. ALH is one of the most advanced Helicopter in its class in the world. India is now the only country to have a helicopter aerobatic team doing dare devil manoeuvres with ALH not only in India but around the world in international air shows. It is not feasible to do such maneuvers without a reliable and manoeuvrable helicopter. The past accident was due to excedding the limits, which could happen with any such flying machine. The teething issues, which happens with most new developments have been overcome and it is now emerging as one of the top class helicopter, which is going to give run for money to the best helicopters of its class in the times to come. People will have to accept its capability today or tomorrow, choice is theirs.

    • AMAN

      Their are five another helicopter aerobatics teams in the world-
      1. Blue eagle (U.K.)
      2. Royal Navy Black Cats (U.K.)
      3. Scorpion aerobatic team (Poland)
      4. Rotores de Portugal (Pourtgal)
      5. Patrulla Aspa (Spain)

      And yes having helicopter aerobatic team is not a big thing because Russia China or the USA none of the three have such Teams then what?
      It doesn’t Matter !!!!!

  • aar

    Developing a helicopter (Dhruv) and becoming a sub-contractor (private sector for airframe production) are different. First one is indigenous and second one is joint venture in which some benefits could be accrued due to joint venture but can not be compared to indigenous development

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