Let’s make ten-tonne chopper with rocket speed  – Rajnath Singh

Let’s make ten-tonne chopper with rocket speed – Rajnath Singh

Need to strengthen India’s role in rotary wing domain

Demand for 2,000 helicopters now, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh says

HYDERABAD, Apr 3 (The CONNECT) - Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has stressed the need to march forward in the design and development of the 10-tonne Indian Multirole Helicopter which, he said, is a significant requirement for the Armed forces and has a huge market potential.

Addressing a conclave organised to commemorate 60 years of Chetak helicopter’s service to the nation, at Air Force Station, Hakimpet in Hyderabad yesterday, he called to fast-track the design and development of helicopter technology in the country. The dual-use technologies which will not only prove to be effective in the defence sector, but will make India a dominant force in the helicopter market, he said.

“According to an estimate, there is a demand for more than 1,000 civilian helicopters in the country and an equal number of helicopters in the defence sector. We need to exploit this huge potential in the helicopter market. In addition, we need to make efforts to strengthen India's claim in the Rotary wing domain. The era is changing. I am sure that in the times to come we will be more bright, strong and completely self-reliant,” he said.

The Minister described the conclave as a fitting tribute to those who have served the Nation with hard work and dedication. Paying his respects to this invaluable contribution, he said, “Whenever a country fights a war for the safety and security, it is not just the Armed Forces who take part. The whole nation fights that war. The scientists, engineers and technicians of organisations like HAL, who develop helicopters like ‘Chetak’ and other platforms, play an equally important role as our soldiers. Lakhs of employees and workers associated with MSMEs also contribute by supplying parts to these projects. This conclave celebrates the hard work and dedication of all of them”.

Comparing ‘Chetak’ named horse of Rajput king Rana Pratap, Shri Rajnath Singh described ‘Chetak’ helicopter as not just a machine, but a vibrant & dedicated entity which has been continuously engaged in the service of the nation for the last six decades and has set an example for others. He noted that nearly 700 Chetaks manufactured so far have served the nation in war and peace with full dedication, describing its multi-service employment as a shining example of jointness.

Elaborating on the capabilities of the helicopter, the Minister said, “’Chetak’ has proved its mettle in the battlefield by targeting enemies with accuracy and successfully landing troops. It has also helped in delivering essential logistics. It has saved precious lives through its evacuation efforts in case of emergency. It has provided important information whenever needed, which has helped in decision making and paving way for victory in wars. ‘Chetak’ has always been at the forefront in providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief during natural calamities. This is the first time a platform has reached this stage.” He appreciated the fact that ‘Chetak’, through adaptation, modification and upgradation, remains a frontline platform even after 60 years of its creation.

Rajnath Singh recalled the extraordinary contribution of the Chetak helicopter during the 1971 war. “From providing air support to ground troops to heli-bridging operations and destroying enemy positions, our air warriors onboard ‘Chetak’ showed exemplary courage and professionalism during the war.

The helicopter was also used to train the pilots of ‘Mukti Bahini’. Chetak’s role can also be seen as a shining example of promoting integration and jointmanship. Our victory in the war has been written in golden letters in the history books. Neither did we want any power, land, resources, nor any domination. We fought that war to protect humanity and democracy,” he stated.

The Minister was of the view that India has shown its strength in the design, development and operation of helicopters in the five-tonne category, terming the indigenously designed and developed Advanced Light Helicopter DHRUV and its variants as examples of India's prowess. He described the Light Combat Helicopter as another example of the country’s capability in light helicopters for combat operations. Light Utility Helicopters, being operated by the Armed Forces, are also great examples of the capability in the helicopter sector, he added.

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