New Delhi: India has issued a global tender for the supply of heavy-lift and gunship helicopters for the Indian Air Force (IAF), estimated to be worth atleast $2 billion. The tender will seek the supply of 22 gunships and 15 heavy-lift helicopters, defence officials said Tuesday.
"The two requests for proposals have been issued," said officials. Names of companies invited to bid have not been revealed. A similar bid made in the past had seen expressions of interest from manufacturers such as Russia's Kamov and Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, Italy's AgustaWestland, a unit of Finmeccanica SpA, and Textron Inc.'s Bell Helicopter unit.
While Sikorsky is expected to offer its famed Black Hawk, Bell will pitch the Super Cobra, Russian Mil for Mi-35 and Augusta Westland the Mangusta. Eurocopter, the helicopter unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. (EADS) had pitched its Tiger attack helicopter for the tender while Boeing Co offered its Apache AH-64D Longbow model.
It is reported that Boeing's India unit has confirmed invitation for the bid. "We have received both requests for proposals and our rotorcraft division is reviewing them," Vivek Lall, India head for Boeing's Integrated Defense Systems division was quoted as saying.
This is a second issue of the tender, with an earlier one last year being scrapped at the last minute.
Both Boeing and Bell Helicopter had pulled out of the original tender.
Boeing will also be pitching its heavy-lift, twin-rotor Chinook helicopter. The contract for this portion of the deal is expected to be worth around $600 million to $1 billion.
Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies Corp, also plans to offer its heavy-lift helicopters.