New Delhi: Indian state-owned aerospace giant Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) said Friday it had rushed a three-member team to Ecuador to probe the crash of a Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter, recently exported to the Ecudorian Air Force.
HAL said the team providing assistance to Ecuador for maintenance of the seven helicopters sold to it was also helping in the investigation of the crash. A Dhruv ALH crashed in the course of a 27 October military parade, but the pilot and the co-pilot both emerged unscathed.
''The HAL team, which was already in Ecuador providing maintenance support, is assisting the Ecuadorian Air Force in its investigations. In addition, a three-member team of senior specialists, including HAL's chief test pilot, will be reaching Ecuador to provide all
necessary assistance in the investigation,'' a HAL official said Friday.
The order for the Ecuadorian Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Ecuatoriana, FAE) was the first export order for the Dhruv, under which HAL supplied seven of these rotorcraft to the South American nation in February 2009.
The $51 million export order was a major victory for HAL and India after it lost out on an order to Chile, which for mysterious reasons cancelled a near-certain order for Dhruvs and opted for American Bell helicopters instead. For the Ecudorian order HAL also competed against Israeli firm Elbit, EADS's Eurocopter and Russia's Kazan.