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INTERVIEW
 
‘We Are Currently Evaluating Several Opportunities for Partnerships in India. We Plan to Substantially Increase our Existing Industrial Cooperation Like the One With HAL’
-Vice president, South Asia, sales & customer relations, Eurocopter, Rainer Farid   


Vice president, South Asia, sales & customer relations, Eurocopter, Rainer Farid 
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What is the update on your various campaigns in India across Services? Which helicopters are you fielding in these different programmes?

The Eurocopter AS550 C3 Fennec is one of the contenders in the Reconnaissance and Surveillance Helicopter programme for the army and the air force. The AS550 C3 Fennec has exceptional performance at high altitudes and in hot weather conditions. In addition to operating in Chile’s Andes Mountains at altitudes over 5,000 meters, Fennec helicopters have landed on Mount Everest and Siachen Glacier in the Himalayas. The Field Trials in India have been concluded in December 2010. The Fennec has demonstrated extremely good results and is fully compliant with the very demanding RFP mission requirements. The Fennec, our most advanced light helicopter, is a military certified, combat proven and the most powerful version in the FENNEC family.
In fact, it is the only helicopter that has a successful track record while the other helicopters in its class are still experimental. In terms of manufacturing capacity, more than 300 Fennec/ Ecureuil helicopters are manufactured every year. Given a production rate of approximately one helicopter a day, we are today best geared to deliver the 197 units required by the Indian armed forces at the earliest. The Indian armed forces are in urgent need of a new machine to replace the aging Cheetah/Chetaks which are still being supported by Eurocopter in collaboration with HAL. We hope that the ministry of defence (MoD) would take a final decision by mid 2012.
 
We are also participating with our AS565 MB Panther naval version in the RFP for 16 ship-based helicopters for the Indian Coast Guard which is in the technical evaluation phase, as well as with the EC725 for the requirement of 14 shore-based helicopters. br />
The Indian Navy has a requirement for 56 Naval Utility Helicopters, in which Eurocopter also plans to participate with the AS565 MB Panther naval version.

Eurocopter has been working with HAL for the last several decades through technology transfers. Has HAL also sought Eurocopter’s assistance in its indigenous helicopter programmes like the ALH and LCH, both of which suffer from certain technical and design issues?

Eurocopter has initially been involved in the Design and Development phase for the Advanced Light Helicopter, which HAL is producing indigenously. As per our information, over 100 units of the ALH have been delivered and are flying with the Indian armed forces. Eurocopter is not involved in HAL’s LCH programme. HAL is one of the most important partners of the Eurocopter Group. Giving continuity to our 50 years of successful relationship, we are ready to reinforce and extend the scope of our association in India. We remain committed to work with HAL to contribute to the expansion of the helicopter capabilities of India.

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