After two crashes reportedly due to a pilot error and two presumably due to a technical problem, the Ecuadorian Armed Forces are now retiring the three remaining HAL Dhruv light helicopters from active service.
The Ecuadorian Ministry of Defence has confirmed the decision, according to press agency AP.
While the branches of the Indian military are flying about 200 Dhruv’s exports have been very limited with Ecuador as the only real showcase with a substantial number of Dhruvs in service since 2009, until now.
It’s funny how certain things go by largely unnoticed by major news networks who are otherwise quick to pick up on things. Take for example Cruzex 2013, the multinational exercise now taking place in the skies over Brazil. Taking part in this military exercise are the air forces of Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay and last but not least … Venezuela and the United States, who until recently weren’t on very friendly terms with each other. AIRheads↑Fly guest photographer Ralph Blok went on a crusade to Natal Air Force Base in Brazil to see how things were working out.
Cruzex stands for Cruzeiro do Sul Exercise, an exercise that aims to train aircrews in modern war situation. The 2013 edition is actually the seventh edition of this South American multinational exercise. Main operating bases are Natal in Brazil, and Recife which is situated south of Natal. A total of 2000 crew and other personnel are involved, bringing along 86 aircraft, ranging from Chilean and US F-16s to exotic and rare A-37 Dragonfly and – even more rare! – FMA IA 58 Pucara aircraft from Uruguay.
Cruzex 2013 started on November 4 and will end November 15. Missed it? Simply look below and remember; there’s always next time.
A lot of thanks to Ralph Blok for sharing his pictures here at AIRheads↑Fly. More of his photographic work can be seen here.