New Delhi: With Boeing Co confirming its participation in the tender for the supply of 22 attack and 15 heavy-lift helicopters to the Indian Air Force the surprising announcement is Eurocopter opting out of the race. Sources indicate that the Eurocopter's product, the Tigre ARH, may not be ready in time to participate in field trials next year as it is undergoing an upgrade.
Global manufacturers, such as Russia's Kamov and Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, Italy's AgustaWestland, a unit of Finmeccanica SpA, Textron Inc.'s Bell Helicopter, Eurocopter, the helicopter manufacturing unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co and Sikorsky Aircraft have expressed interest in the deal.
|Mi-28N Havoc attack helicopter|
Sikorsky Aircraft plans to bid for heavy-lift helicopters,
The IAF's attempt to boost its fleet of older Mi-35 attack helicopters has consistently run into problems with American companies, both Boeing and Bell Helicopters, earlier pulling out on a technicality. Both companies pulled out of the original tender as the Indian Air Force wanted to buy directly from the manufacturer, but the US wanted it to be a government-to-government deal.
Also, they are reportedly unhappy with the 50 per cent offset requirements that are apparently required in the tender.
European companies, in turn, have hinted that the tender is skewed in favour of US companies.