Defense behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Wednesday handed over an Indian-made Cheetah utility helicopter to the Namibian Air Force (NAF) at Aero India 2011 aviation trade expo. Two more Chetak helicopters are in the pipeline.
Namibian Defense Minister, retired Major General Charles Namolah received the chopper from HAL director P Soundara Rajan on the first day of the biennial five-day event at the Yelahanka air base on the outskirts of this aerospace hub.
“We will provide ground support equipment, ground handling equipment and initial set of spares for maintaining the copter, besides training to Namibian pilots and ground crew,” Rajan said at the event.
Powered by a Turbomeca Artosute III B turboshaft engine, the high-performance chopper is designed for operation over a wide range of weight, centre of gravity and altitude conditions.
HAL had signed a contract with the Namibian defense ministry in April 2009 to supply one Cheetah and two Chetak copters with associated equipment. “We are committed to deliver the two Chetaks to the NAF in June and the work is in full swing,” Rajan said.
HAL’s helicopter division manufactures the five-seater Cheetah helicopter in its Bangalore complex. The chopper can also be used for transporting passengers and cargo, as well as, casualty evacuation, search and rescue and surveillance and observation.
The Namibian delegation visiting the South Asia’s biggest air show includes its High Commissioner to India Samuel K. Mbambo, and NAF Commander Air Vice Marshal M.K. Pinehas.