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HAL likely to get Rs 420 crore order for air ambulances

Bibhu Ranjan Mishra & Praveen Bose  |  Bangalore 

(HAL) is believed to be close to securing an order for supplying 12 to the armed forces. The order, expected to be executed in the ongoing fiscal, will fetch the company about Rs 420 crore, sources close to the development said.
"They visited us and have expressed satisfaction over the performance of the ALH ambulances, which will have all the emergency medical equipment for the treatment of injured soldiers. They had not floated any tenders as the ALH was originally developed for the armed forces," the sources added.
The ALH ambulances will be used by the Armed Forces' Medical Services. On being asked, HAL chief test pilot (Rotary Wing) Wing Commander C D Upadhyay said the company was yet to get a final confirmation from the defence authorities.
HAL, which introduced the ALH in 2002, has witnessed a huge demand for its civilian version in the recent past. The company has already supplied about five civilian variants globally, including two to the state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) in India.
The company will deliver a third Dhruv copter to ONGC soon. Besides, it has received orders for one civilian variant from the Geological Survey of India (GSI) and two from the Jharkhand government.
According to Upadhyay, the product is catching up slowly with the maturing market. "There is a great demand for these products. Going forward, we are expecting a lot of demand from the state governments and paramilitary forces," he added.
The basic cost of an ALH helicopter is in the range of Rs 30-35 crore. The civilian variants can be customised to accommodate 4 to 14 seats, depending upon the requirements. The copters can also have toilets, galley and drawing spaces, said HAL sources.
ONGC is using Dhruv's civilian variants, which have five seats and one stretcher. Of these, one copter is being used at Hazira in Assam for casualty evacuation and in search and rescue operations. The second Dhruv helicopter is being used by the company in Delhi for VIP movements.

First Published: Fri, August 17 2007. 00:00 IST