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July 18, 2012

Navy will float tenders for new copters

he Indian Navy will soon have additional surveillance helicopters with enhanced capabilities, for which the tenders will be sent to potential vendors very soon. American Lockheed Martin will submit its proposal for this new bid, while it pulled out of an older similar one. The surveillance role is currently being fulfilled by the existing Seaking helicopters of 1980s vintage, in service in the Indian Navy, which are old and need to be replaced, for which already 16 multi-role helicopters are going to be finalised soon by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). In addition to these 16 new helicopters, one more tender for about 75-100 helicopters will also be floated. It was for the 16 multi-role helicopter deal that Lockheed Martin pulled out as the deal was not under Foreign Military Sale (FMS), and was an open tender. The helicopters will be used in limited intelligence gathering, rescue and search casualty evacuation and surveillance roles.
For the 16 mutil-role helicopters originally there were four contenders namely Eurocopter EC725, the NH90 by the NH Industries, America's Sikorsky's S-70B and Lockheed Martin's integrated MH- 60R. Out of these two have been down-selected — the NH90 by the NH Industries, America's Sikorsky's S-70B, of which one will soon be shortlisted for price negotiations, for the deal worth $1 billion approximately.
In a similar category but with enhanced anti-submarine warfare capabilities the more than 75 new helicopters will also come as a replacement for the aging Westland Sea Kings, in a deal worth more than $2 billion, with some to be bought, while some to be made by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), under license. The Navy had asked for information from potential vendors for this separate second tender.
Sources told this newspaper that the new deal for the more than 75 helicopters will also be an open tender, but Lockheed Martin proposes to bid for this deal with its MH-60R and MH-60S, the air-frame of which will be similar to the Sikorsky's S-70B helicopter. Old Sea Kings are also to be upgraded.
The MoD's Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had also cleared the purchase of 56 naval light utility helicopters to replace the existing Chetaks in service, in a deal worth Rs 7000 cr, the tender for which was sent out last year. These light utility helicopters will be twin-engined of modern airframe design and fully integrated advanced avionics to replace the aging fleet of Chetak helicopters, which were inducted about 30-35 years ago. Being able to operate both during day and night, the helicopters will also have the capability to operate in adverse weather conditions, both from shore and off-shore and from small and larger decks, like that of an aircraft carrier.

Sunday-Guardian

1 comment:

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