Boeing lines up products for the Indian defence market

New Delhi: Boeing will bid for an Indian Air Force tender for 22 combat and 15 heavy-lift helicopters. Proposals for the combat helicopters have to be submitted by 22 September and those for the heavy-lift ones a day after.

This is a second issue of tenders for attack helicopters with an earlier tender, issued last year, scrapped in March this year by the government. Boeing had not made an offer for the earlier tender, constrained probably by the lack of end-user monitoring (EUM) and technical assistance agreements (TSA) between India and the United States. If so, then this will not pose any problems now with the recent signing of these agreements by both nations.

Image: Boeing Photo

Meanwhile, the signing of the EUM and the TSA clears the path for the implementation of an $2.1 billion contract for the purchase of eight Boeing P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft for the Indian Navy. The contract had been signed on 1 January this year.

''The agreement will make it easier to share important US defense technology with India,'' Boeing has said in a statement.

Boeing now says it also keen to offer India the C-17 Globemaster III, a giant transporter, which can carry large equipment, supplies and troops directly to small airfields.

''The C-17 fits in well with India's operational requirements,'' says Vivek Lall, head of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems in India. ''The U.S. government received a request for information in 2008,'' he said.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that the Indian Air Force may be considering acquisition of atleast ten C-17s - initially through the US government's Foreign Military Sales route.