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.
Two of seven aircraft delivered in 2007 have crashed, one caught fire on 27 January 2015 while another had a major problem about a week earlier.
The Ecuadorian Air Force confirmed it has now restricted the operations with the three remaining Dhruvs that so far haven’t been in any incident yet.
Since 1992 HAL has produced more than 200 Dhruvs, which are extensively used by the Indian Air Force, Indian Army Aviation, Indian Navy and other Indian government services. Military versions have been exported to Ecuador, Surinam, Israel, the Maldives and Nepal.
The Ecuadorian Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Ecuatoriana) received the first of three new Airbus (EADS / CASA) C295Ms on 7 August 2014. The plane was escorted by two of the FAE’s Super Tucano light attack aircraft on its way in to Eloy Alfaro de Manta Airbase.
The plances replace the Avro (Hawker Siddeley) HS748 with No. 1112 Squadron, after the HS748 has served the Latin American country for more than 40 years. With the new C295M (FAE-1030) arriving, one of the HS748s discharged of its duties shortly after the arrival ceremony.