Five firms in fray for copter deal
BANGALORE: Five global helicopter majors are in the fray to sell India 197 multi-role, light helicopters, in a deal worth Rs. 3,000 crore.
Eurocopter, a subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space company with its AS 550 Fennec; Bell Helicopters, which is offering the Bell 407; Russia’s Kamov (for its Ka-226), the Franco Italian consortium’s Agusta (which is prepared to offer either the Agusta A109 Power or the A 119 Koala) and McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems ( MD 520N) have been given time till December 19 to submit proposals.
To replace Chetak
Weighing less than three tonnes when armed, these multi-role, light turbine helicopters will replace the 1970s vintage Chetak and Cheetah helicopters operated by the Army Aviation Corps and the Air Force.
They will undertake tasks such as reconnaissance and observation, casualty evacuation, electronic warfare, escort duties, anti-insurgency operations and injecting and extricating personnel from the battlefield.
Of the 197 helicopters, which are to be bought in a fly away condition and via knock down kits, 133 are for the Army, while 64 will be delivered to the Air Force.
The helicopter deal is part of a mega modernisation programme which will see the Army eventually receiving 197 helicopters and the Air Force getting 188.
The deal also includes an offset clause, under which the successful vendor must source defence-related goods and services to the value of 50 per cent of the deal from Indian companies.
The process — including discussions on offset proposals, technical evaluation, short-listing by the Defence Ministry, hot weather and winter trails — is expected to be completed by the middle of 2010.