About a week ago HAL bagged an order for 32 HAL DHRUV which costs about 8000 Crore INR or 1.2 Billion $. Out of 32 helicopters ordered both Indian Navy & Indian Coastguard will 16 each.

These helicopters will help IN & ICG in filling the operational gaps as both navy and coastguard are in desperate need of helicopters. The deliveries of  these helicopters will begin from 2020

The cost of Dhruv is one point which has raised concerns among people saying that acquiring 32 Dhruv at 1.2 billion dollars  or 8000 Crore INR means that Govt is paying about 250 Crore RS or 37.5 million $ per helicopter when each Dhruv actually costs about 80-100 Crore INR or approximately 15.5 million $ (rounded figures).

As I have a habit of breaking the cost of the deal I will be doing the same here and will be countering the suspicions raised with facts to the extent I can.

  • First of all I would like to remind that these are not the normal  HAL ALH/DHRUV's which are used by Army or Airforce, these are for NAVY & COASTGUARDS and these have different roles.  Navy uses these as not just  a transport and ferrying helicopters but also as maritime surveillance & search and rescue helicopters  and naval version has additional features like folding blades etc. The frame of the  naval ones is stronger as they might be deployed on Ships and on-board hangars and so they need special  provisions for strapping them to ships when in rough waters.

Also as visible in above pictures unlike the army version the naval version has a different landing gear design (landing gear is different and frame has variations) and the gear can be retracted in Naval ones.

  • Also the contract includes PBL or a logistics support package which will ensure supply of spares and service of  the helicopters. This means that  the contract is not  just  for helicopters but inn additional also includes cost for maintenance and spares and this way a clear line of responsibility is established from the starting itself. The support package is for next 5 years from the delivery as far as it is known at the moment.

The new Govt. has given special emphasis to these logistic and support packages in the recent deals be it from Indian Vendors or Foreign manufacturers as it ensures the required serviceability of  the system in long run.

  • Another major part which we should consider that HAL will not just be providing all the above only but will also establish the required infrastructure for the operation of these helicopters.  Bases along the coastline will be modified and developed and made fit for operating these helicopters.


Navy is also planning to equip their choppers with low powered radars which are developed by DRDO and  this will allow them to be used as anti-submarine platform.

So summing up everything the 8000 Crore INR or  1.2  Billion $ is not just for 32 HAL DHRUV but also  for logistic support, all the modifications, Infrastructure development etc and this should not be confused with just the cost of helicopter acquisition.

Also Navy has shown interest in HAL RUDRA which is armed version of HAL DHRUV.