Vice Admiral Girish Luthra said on Monday that although new helicopters should have been inducted into the naval fleet by 2008-09, they were yet to arrive. “New helicopters should have been inducted in naval fleet by 2008-09, but they have not arrived yet. The ships, such as INS Chennai, INS Kochi and INS Delhi are already commissioned, but they are moving without new helicopters. The demand is in excess of 100 (choppers) and we have a requirement of multi-role helicopters (MRH),” the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Naval Command told reporters in Mumbai.
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Replying to a query, he said, “We wanted it (choppers) yesterday. The new ships have been commissioned, but they are without new helicopters. It is not about when we want it, we have crossed that line. Currently, we are using old Sea King helicopters for some works.” “We are looking for multi-utility helicopters with facilities such as anti-submarine, anti-surface equipment, sonar facility. It can also perform search and rescue, evacuation, commando (action) among others. Our requirements are different from that of Indian Army and Air Force,” he added.
According to him, the navy also wants some utility helicopters, which will replace the existing Chetak series. “We are hoping and seeking early sanctions and conclusion of contracts so that its induction can take place in time,” he added. “The advanced light helicopters are also being inducted into the naval force, but they cannot be used for all types of navy requirements,” he said.