negi wrote:<SNIP>I want to know about a concrete use case for LUH which ALH cannot fulfill everything else is PPTgiri.<SNIP>
negi - To address the questions raised by you in totality, we need to look at factors at play here and see how they add up. Please bear with me:
Total requirement - 384 units.
IAF and IA share - 125 and 259
Buy and Make - 64/61 and 132/127
The ticket size started with USD 750 Mn and progressed to USD 900 Mn. USD 1 bn to 1.5 bn is the number quoted in the press that I've seen while searching for this post.
1. As far as the role goes, the LUH is meant for Reconnaissance & Observation (R&O) role - which is quite different from the kind of roles which ALH performs in the Indian Army. Historically, when in IAF service, these R&O flights (constituting nine Squadrons) were used in Air Observation role and these were transferred to IA when AAC came about in mid-80s. Each IA Corps had 1 x Squadron of these birds. Each Squadron had 2 x R&O Flights + 1 x Reserve Flight. These R&O flights were allotted to sub-ordinate formations as per requirement.
2. Induction of ALH into IA led to formation Utility Helicopter flight (UH Flight) which were separate from R&O Flights- And herein lies the difference. The role envisaged for LUH and ALH were and are different. Even the future plan which calls for equipping each Corps with Aviation Brigade is envisaged to have 1 x Gunship Squadron + 1 x Utility Helicopter Squadron + 1 x R&O Squadron.
3. Further, I don't think Indian Army is replacing the Cheetah and Chetak helicopters in existing squadrons with Dhruv helicopters. It has raised fresh Squadrons for inducting the ALH into service.
Interestingly, while Army Aviation Corps (AAC) earlier used the 600 series for numbering (659, 660, 661 Squadron etc) the Squadrons, AAC has used the 200 series for new Squadrons with ALH - 201, 202 (one featured in NDTV-Soaring Gideon), 203 and 204. On a side note, the first Squadron equipped with Rudra has been christened 301 Squadron - so, expect 300 series for this helicopter type.
4. IA is looking for replacing Cheetah and Chetak helicopters with something in their weight class - which can do the R&O role as well as liaison duties. For example, IA maintains a Squadron equipped with ALH as well 666 R&O Squadron with smaller helicopters in Leh. There is no evidence to suggest IA (or IAF) intend to equip their R&O/Liaison Squadrons with heavier ALH.
And the order book for ALH between IA and IAF stands in excess of INR 7,000 crore.
5. All the above is a clear indication that IA does not envisage using ALH for R&O roles for which it wants a smaller helicopter. ALH is meant for specific role and its presence is going to increase manifold in the IA service.
6. Cost - This TOI article (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-07-09/india/40468014_1_medium-lift-helicopters-cheetah-chetak-choppers
) puts the price of ALH at 47 Crore - assuming the deal for outright purchase of 197 LUH is pegged at INR 5,500 Crore (USD 1.0 bn@INR 55), the per unit rate for LUH translates into INR 28 Crore - 60% of the price for HAL manufactured ALH.
As rest of the 187 choppers are going to be made by HAL, one can expect the cost for balance LUH to be lesser than this per unit number.
7. And don't forget, IA needed these choppers as of yesterday. Even after considering the time for negotiations+contract signing+manufacture of first lot, these are likely to come up quicker than ALH manufactured in-house. For a simple reason that HAL order book is full with servicing the requirement of IA and IAF. In case of IA, ALH being inducted are for new squadrons. The requirement for LUH is separate and therefore, the production run and absorption for ALH cannot be sequential.
The capacity is 36 ALH per annum which will keep HAL busy for another 10-years to fulfill the current requirement. So, unless HAL puts another assembly line with higher production run, even the ALH will not come earlier.