alpha design seeks to join naval chopper upgrade work in tieup with adani defence

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In 2016, the defence ministry had approved the upgrade of 10 choppers that operate from the Rajput class of destroyers

by Manu Pubby

NEW DELHI: Pitching for its participation in an ongoing Rs 2,100-crore contract to upgrade a fleet of anti-submarine warfare helicopters, Bangalore-based defence equipment maker Alpha Design Technologies Pvt Ltd (ADTL) has proposed to the Navy that it can carry out the work in partnership with Adani Group.

The Navy’s fleet of Kamov KA-28 anti-submarine helicopters is currently undergoing a mid-life upgrade (MLU) that will not only give the choppers extended service life but will also modernise their sensors and avionics to enhance the Navy’s capability to detect and neutralise submarines.

ADTL had written to the Navy last month that it has expertise in MLU of helicopters and has a “strong partnership” with Adani Defence and Aerospace Systems (ADAS) that makes it eligible for participation in the program. ADTL, which has undertaken defence programs worth over Rs 1,100 crore in the past four years, is looking at involvement in the avionics and sensor integration for the mid-life upgrade of the chopper fleet.

The mid-life upgrade is being carried out by the Russian side, but given the size of the contract, could attract offsets as well as orders for the larger fleet of Kamov choppers in service with the Navy.

The lack of modern fleet of such helicopters is one of the biggest hindrances being faced by operators and a process has also been initiated to procure a new set of choppers for this role from the US under a direct government purchase.

The KA-28 choppers were procured in the 1980s. Several of them have become inoperable in recent years due to issues relating to spares and support. In 2016, the defence ministry had approved the upgrade of 10 choppers that operate from the Rajput class of destroyers.

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