July 10, 2012 By Stabroek
PARAMARIBO – India has completed the 2009 order to deliver three Dhruv helicopters for Suriname’s army. Permanent Secretary for Defence John Achong and Lieutenant Colonel John Antonius, recently left for India to inspect and to finalize the order, several defence officials confirm to de Ware Tijd.
A four to six months training course for pilots and maintenance personnel is scheduled for October. Plans to train 10 pilots from Suriname since March 2010 on the HAL Rotary Wing Academy in Bangalore have been delayed. On the website of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL-India) Suri-name is referred to as a major customer. Former Defence Minister Ivan Fernald headed a delegation to India in early 2009 to place the order.
The helicopters are financed with a US$15.3 million credit line by the Indian government. HAL typifies the so-called Dhruvs as sophisticated light helicopters. They measure 16 meters in length, are five meters high and weigh a little more than 2.5 tonnes. The helicopters, an Indian design, have an operation range of 640 kilometres.