Hindustan Aeronautics reaches 300 ALH Dhruv milestone but exports yet to pick up, says GlobalData

Following the news that India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has rolled out its 300th advanced light helicopter (ALH) Dhruv;

Mathew George, Ph.D., Aerospace & Defense Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“The announcement from HAL comes on the heels of India’s defense minister releasing the new Defence Acquisition Plan- 2020 that aligns with the government’s indigenization push. It is a major milestone for the indigenously designed and developed helicopter and shows the increasing experience of HAL as a defense manufacturer and supplier for India. However, the program is run primarily through domestic requirements with exports few and far between.

“The move forms part of the government’s plans for the aerospace industry to make India a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) hub. With a total of 228,000 flight hours, the sentiment is echoed by HAL with an increasing focus on customer support. With most of the customers being the armed forces of India, providing that support is a very domestic requirement.

“HAL also took the occasion to announce the completion of the ground run of its upcoming Light Combat Helicopter-Limited Series production for domestic consumption.

“All these programs augur well for the country, which aims for indigenization and self-reliance. However, with lack of exports, HAL might find it difficult to prolong these programs without significant government support. Nor will it help India to become a major defense exporter of advanced military capabilities. The company has come some way after the fiasco and negative press with the Dhruv in Ecuador, but it has still found it hard to increase international sales of ALH. Maybe with increasing flight hours, lower incidents, increased support and the focused change from the government to support defense exports and to be an MRO hub, the export fortunes for HAL will change in the future.”

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