Posting excerpts from a recent AWIN article
India Emerging as a
Potential HEMS Market
Jay Menon Sep 26, 2013
Eurocopter, a division of the global aerospace and defense conglomerate EADS, is planning a pilot helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) for a pan-India network with the help of a consortium of government institutions, private hospitals and other stakeholders.
The project will takeplace in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
Earlier this year, Bengaluru based Aviators - Ltd signed a firm order for an initial batch of seven EC135 for HEMS operations
A second order is expected to be carried out later this year, and rapid growth is anticipated in the HEMS market - as many as 50 helicopters are expected to be deployed throughout the country in the coming years", the (Eurocopter) offocial adds.
In July, three Pilatus PC-12NG helos were customised by one of the largest super speciality hospitals in India, Medanta - The Medicity
Augusta Westland also delivered two AW-109s to Delhi based OSS Air Management late last year to start the first helicopter ambulance service.
From an earlier article in AWIN (Oct 04, 2010, Anantha Krishnan M) -
HAL launched a Chetak air ambulance variant under the name Vayu Vahanm but the project did not last long after receiving a poor response. "Just one evacuation and it went dead.
We were serious but there were many issues. Even we have envisaged Dhruv in an air ambulance role"
Major hurdles appear to be
Lack of open airspace (open sky policy). Opening of upto 5000ft is needed for HEMS to operate in a time effective manner. If it takes 5 hours for a flight plan to be approved, it renders the HEMS ineffective. The article seems to indicate that the government is considering relaxing several rules that a re currently hampering smooth operation of HEMS.
Link to a free article pertaining to the issue - http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/ ... ched-india
Regarding suitability of Dhruv for this purpose, Turkey and Peru currently have Dhruv for their health services, but it is not clear if Turkey uses it as an air ambulance or some other purpose.
Peru has outfitted their Dhruvs as air ambulance - http://www.business-standard.com/articl ... 061_1.html
The interiors of the ALH ambulances to be delivered to Peru will be done up in Europe. HAL is in talks with a few firms specialising in interiors and other accessories typically required by heli-ambulances.
"The reason for interiors being done in Europe is that there are no firms in India specialising in heli-ambulance interiors," an HAL source added
It would probably be significantly cheaper if we have MRO/finishing operations in India capable of handling the outfitting as well, which appears to a decent business opportunity for the inclined.
The useful payload of Dhruv is 2600kgs (vs 1400kgs for EC135) with range and speed being comparable. With 14 seats aqnd a 1500kgs TO weight difference, Dhruv might be uneconomical for the role as currently performed by EC135 within urban areas involving attending to individual patients. Dhruv is more suited to the large scale MEDVAC or an air clinic, servicing areas with poor road connectivity. The HAL plan for a Dhruv based HEMS service might not find many takers within urban based HEMS operators.