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Indian Navy’s helicopter deal delayed by six months

NDIAN Navy’s tender for multirole helicopters has been once again delayed with the Defence Ministry directing the vendors to extend the validity of their proposals for six more months. The Defence Ministry has asked the American Sikorsky and European NH Industries to extend the validity of their proposals for the tender worth over US$1 billion for buying 16 helicopters.
 
The 16 helicopters in the US$1 billion tender of the Indian Navy are meant to carry out anti-submarine warfare and surveillance roles besides augmenting its fleet of Sea King helicopters. American Sikorsky had fielded its S-70 Blackhawk helicopter and NH Industries of Europe had offered its NH-90 helicopters for the tender. The Navy has completed the trials of the participating helicopters in 2011 and submitted its report with the Defence Ministry.
 
NH-90While both the firms in the fray for the helicopter deal have been asked to extend their validity for six months, the Defence Ministry has not furbished any reason for this move. The tender has also been delayed due to complaints made by NH Industries against its rival Sikorsky and the capabilities of the American platform offered by Sikorsky.
 
In a letter to the Defence Ministry, European NH Industries has claimed that its rival Sikorsky could not have met all the conditions of the Navy’s RFP. NH Industries claims that Sikorsky may not be technically compliant unless its S70B helicopter has been granted waivers on a number of non-compliances of the Multi Role Helicopter (MRH) RFP qualitative requirements. NH Industries has demanded similar concessions before the commencement of contract negotiation stage scheduled for later this year.
 
As for the multi-role helicopters, their primary role would be anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare, while its secondary role would include search and rescue, cargo carrying and casualty evacuation. As per the tender, the winning bidder would be required to supply the first MRH within 46 months in three phases. The Navy will also have the option of placing orders for another 44 helicopters, once the present contract is completed.
 
Meanwhile, the 16 multirole helicopters (MRH) competition is to be followed by the N-MRH, a separate tender for 44 helicopters. Lockheed-Martin's MH-60R, based on the same airframe as the S-70B, will be a contender. The Navy is also in the process of evaluating upgrade packages for the old Seakings. The Navy has 40-odd Seaking choppers in its air wing, but the strength has come down to about 30 helicopters due to mishaps.
 
 
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Indian Navy’s helicopter deal delayed by six months
 
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IAN
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