India seeks EASA certification for HAL-built Dhruv advanced light helicopters


India is seeking certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for its Dhruv advanced light helicopters, as Ecuador considers returning the helicopters after a series of crashes.

Four of seven Dhruv helicopters supplied to Ecuador have crashed during the period October 2009 to January 2015.

The Ecuadorian Government has constituted Court of Inquiry (CoI) in each case which concluded that human errors caused the first two accidents.

Two other CoI reports have not been released by Ecuador Government, citing confidentiality, Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in a statement.

However, the aircraft manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) analysed the flight data recorders (FDR) records and discovered that the third accident was due to 'pilot associated oscillation (human error)' and the cause of the fourth accident was 'failure of tail drive shaft attributed to maintenance lapse by Ecuadorian team'.

The EASA certification will help HAL increase the export potential in global market.

HAL also plans to propose long-term onsite maintenance support for three to five years in future contracts.

"Four of seven Dhruv helicopters supplied to Ecuador have crashed during the period October 2009 to January 2015."

In June 2008, HAL received the first export order for Dhruv helicopters for the air force of Ecuador.

Dhruv is equipped with advanced technologies such as anti-resonance vibration isolation system (ARI), full authority digital electronic control (FADEC), hingeless main rotor, bearingless tail rotor, and an automatic flight control system.

Israel Aerospace Industries has developed an integrated helicopter avionics suite for the Dhruv, which includes day-and-night observation, electronic warfare suite, observation and targeting, and a flexible weapons carrying system.


Image: HAL Dhruv helicopters of the Ecuadorian Air Force. Photo: courtesy of G-BYGB.