India to acquire high altitude helicopters
NEW DELHI: India is planning to acquire 20 high altitude helicopters in a bid to provide quick reaction ability to armed forces.
US helicopter giant Bell, the company which claims to have pioneered high altitude medium and heavy helicopters as well as gunships, and Anglo-Italian firm Agusta Westland are bidding for the project, which has been accorded top priority by the Government, said a news report.
Air Force officials have tested the three-engine Agusta Westland EH101 helicopters, which can be used in variety of demanding missions. The helicopter are powered by General Electric T700 engines, which are, the company says is the only qualified engine to operate the 15,000 feet gunship mode. GE T700 military variant of the commercial 7-6 is the most thoroughly proven helicopter engine in the world, qualified to fly at 22,000 feet, ED Birtwell, General Manar of GE aircraft engine said in a press release. IAF’s present fleet of Chetaks and Cheetahs, light payload helicopters and recently acquired upgraded Russian MI-17V choppers have flying ceiling of 18,000 feet, added the report. —APP