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Copter woe

Excerpts from an interview with Vice-Admiral Satish Soni:

There is something that we lack and that is helicopters. We are woefully short of helicopters in the fleet. The acquisition processes have been slightly delayed for whatever reason, but in the field we are experiencing a shortage of helicopters.

We have Kamov-28 helicopters presently for INS Ranvir and INS Ranvijay. We have the UH3H helicopter for the INS Jalashwa, and Chetaks for most other ships. But all the helicopters are ageing and need replacement yesterday.

We are acutely short of ASW (anti-submarine warfare) helicopters. We have three Shivalik-class frigates with no helicopters. We have three decks and three hangars but no helicopters for them, because there are very few Sea King 42B in the navy: maybe 10 or 12.

The case for helicopters has been going on for some time. Hopefully we will have the MRH (multi-role helicopter) being sanctioned quickly, as also the NUH (naval utility helicopter, which will replace the Chetak; the MRH will be an ASW helicopter).