HAL makes big civilian push for Dhruv

By SP's Special Correspondent March 7, 2015

HAL will be ramping up efforts to boost sales of the ALH Dhruv helicopter in the civilian market in India and regionally. Sources say HAL's new chairman T. Suvarnaraju has highlighted sales of the civilian configured Dhruv as a priority area, given the huge demand for helicopters of the Dhruv class. A VVIP configuration version of the Dhruv is also being projected at the luxury sector and is set to be unveiled this year. Civilian operators of the Dhruv so far include ONGC and certain other operators. But HAL has decided it needs to ramp up marketing to meet big anticipated demand for the 5.5 ton class helicopter. 2015 will see an enhanced marketing outreach for the Dhruv helicopter. HAL is understood to be waiting to complete assistance on the three Dhruv crashes that took place this year — two in Ecuador in January alone. While focusing on the export thrust to countries like Malaysia and Indonesia that have evinced keen interest in importing the Dhruv in unspecified numbers, HAL wants to catapult to the next level with the supply of higher numbers, rather than be restricted to one or two choppers it currently sells currently. While the IMRH programme has been delayed for priority reasons, HAL is hoping to build a robust helicopter catalogue, featuring the Dhruv, LUH and IMRH ultimately, with offerings across weight classes and variants. Such an exercise will necessarily take more than the rest of this decade.