Press Esc to close
Thursday 23 October 2014
News updated at 11:28 PM IST
Weather
Max: 0°C
Min : 0°C
In Bangalore
Sunny day

IAF will not fly tainted Agusta VVIP choppers

New Delhi, July 9, 2014, DHNS:

Defence Ministry looks for options to sell them

The Indian Air Force will not fly the three scam-tainted AW-101 VVIP helicopters that have been with it since December 2012. PTI file photo

The Indian Air Force will not fly the three scam-tainted AW-101 VVIP helicopters that have been with it since December 2012.

The defence ministry has decided that the Air Force would not use these choppers for VVIP flights. Instead, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley may look for legally valid options to sell these copters to state governments or private companies, sources told Deccan Herald.

The three choppers arrived in Delhi almost a year-and-a-half ago, but they were never formally inducted in the service because within months, the Rs 3,727 crore  deal emerged as a huge scam with allegations of kickbacks flying thick against several individuals, including a former IAF chief.

Since 2012, the IAF stations in Hindon and Palam were flying these machines on short trips to keep them operational. But with no supply of spares because of the scam, investigation and court case, it is becoming increasingly expensive to fly them.“The only decision on the Agusta VVIP choppers is that the IAF will not fly them.


The ministry is exploring various options on what can be done with them,” said an official. One of the proposals on the table is to sell them off to states or other agencies, including private companies. Jaitley, however, has not taken any decision yet.

The IAF is working on a plan to find a new fleet of VVIP helicopters to replace the ageing Mi-8 helicopters, which have completed their technical lives. Bereft of an alternative, the service continues to fly them for ferrying VVIPs.

In 2010, India signed the agreement with arms major AgustaWestland for the supply of 12 AW 101 choppers. Following the controversy, the defence ministry asked the CBI to probe the scam-tainted deal and proceeded to encash the bank guarantees to recover part of the advance payment made to the company.

While the Agusta helicopters were custom-made for VVIP flights, IAF’s most modern medium lift helicopter — Mi-17 V5, is not configured for them. The V5 helicopters neither have the comfort level required by VVIP passengers, nor are they equipped with extra security measures and communication lines.

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
A major fire that broke out in the crackers market in Faridabad...

A major fire that broke out in the crackers market in Faridabad...

On the eve of Diwali Renowned sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik created a sand sculpture of Kali...

On the eve of Diwali Renowned sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik created a sand sculpture of Kali...

Indian passengers rest on a crowded platform ahead of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights...

Indian passengers rest on a crowded platform ahead of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights...

Indian soccer player Peter Biaksangzuala, center, performs flips as he celebrates a goal...

Indian soccer player Peter Biaksangzuala, center, performs flips as he celebrates a goal...

Woman buying earthen lamps at a market ahead of the Diwali festival...

Woman buying earthen lamps at a market ahead of the Diwali festival...

School children paint their faces during Diwali celebrations...

School children paint their faces during Diwali celebrations...

A huge rangoli in front of Swaminarayan Temple...

A huge rangoli in front of Swaminarayan Temple...

Volunteers of Azad Hind taking out a procession to mark the Azad Hind Foundation Day...

Volunteers of Azad Hind taking out a procession to mark the Azad Hind Foundation Day...

Family members paying tribute to police martyrs during Police Commemoration Day...

Family members paying tribute to police martyrs during Police Commemoration Day...

TRS activists set affire chairs at the TDP office in Nalgonda...

TRS activists set affire chairs at the TDP office in Nalgonda...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bangalore - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523