Israeli military officers will begin flying in June on the Indian-made Dhruv helicopter under a special leasing arrangement that expands ongoing cooperation between government-owned Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL).
The leasing arrangement, which currently involves only one indigenous Indian aircraft, obliges IAI to provide as many as 600 flight hours per year for the transport of Israel Defense Force officers and staff. Additional aircraft could be included in follow-on amendments to the leasing deal, depending on the level of satisfaction within the Israeli military, according to Ministry of Defense (MoD) and IAI officials here.
Yair Sagie, director of helicopter business development at IAI’s Lahav Division, said the specially equipped Dhruv arrived in Israel a few weeks ago, has undergone testing with Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority and will be ready to fly in early June. Full certification of the Indian helicopter in Israel is expected shortly, Sagie said May 23.
“This is a power-by-the-hour outsourcing contract. We leased the aircraft from HAL, and MoD is leasing it from us,” Sagie said.
IAI’s Lahav Division and HAL began a strategic partnership two years ago to provide core avionics for Dhruv helicopters destined for the Indian armed services. Additionally, the two firms are working to market the helicopter worldwide.
Launch of Dhruv helicopter operations in Israel will be inaugurated May 25 in ceremonies at IAI headquarters here, attended by industry executives from both countries, including HAL Chairman Ashok Baweja, Shri Shekhar Dutt, India’s secretary for defense production, and Amos Yaron, director-general of Israel’s MoD.