The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has cleared the purchase of 56 naval light utility helicopters, which will cost nearly Rs7,000 crore. These state-of the-art helicopters will replace the existing Chetaks in service.
The Indian Navy requires a twin-engine helicopter of modern airframe design and fully integrated advanced avionics to replace its aging fleet of Chetaks, which were inducted over 30 years ago.
With the DAC clearing the helicopter purchase deal, tenders will formally be floated within the next few months.
The likely contenders to get the RFP (request for proposal), or
tenders, are the European consortium EADS for its Eurocopter, the Anglo-Italian Agusta Westland. Russia’s Rosoboronexport for Kamovs, and the American giants, Bell, and Sikorsky.
According to the RFP, the Navy wants choppers with twin controls for both pilots, but at the same time it should be capable of being operated by a single pilot also. The other requirements are the ability to carry out anti-submarine warfare operations with torpedoes and depth charges, besides being suitable for anti-piracy and anti-terrorism roles.
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 decks and large decks like that of an aircraft carrier.