India has set the ball rolling for another mega defence deal, worth close to $1 billion, for the acquisition of 56 naval utility helicopters.
The new tender or RFP (request for proposal) for the 56 naval helicopters was issued to all top global aviation majors — ranging from Boeing, Bell and Sikorsky to Kamov, Eurocopter and AgustaWestland — last week.
This is Navy’s second major “rotary wing” project. The first is for around 90 multi-role helicopters in the 9 to12.5-tonne class, with potent combat capabilities as well as customized for amphibious assaults and commando operations, at a cost of over $2.5 billion to replace ageing Sea King helicopters.
But the first contract for 16 such multi-role helicopters — to be followed by the main one for over 75 choppers — has run into some trouble. European NH Industries, which deployed its NH-90 helicopters for the extensive field trials, has filed a complaint against the other contender, the American Sikorsky-70B.
Another big project facing similar problems is the one for 197 light helicopters for over Rs 3,000 crore, with Russian Kamov Ka-226T pitted against Eurocopter AS 550 C3 Fennec after the technical evaluation.
The second contract for 71 more Russian medium-lift and weaponized Mi-17 V5 helicopters for around $1 billion, 59 for IAF and 12 for BSF, is, however, going ahead. This comes after deliveries of the first 80 Mi-17 V5s to IAF, under a $1.34-billion deal inked in 2008, began last September.
-via The Times of India.