New Delhi: India's defence ministry has finalized global tenders to acquire troop carrying and anti-submarine helicopters, as well as to upgrade its fleet of Sea King and Kamov-28 helicopters, according to senior navy officials. It is likely that the Navy may soon issue a request for proposal (RFP) for the supply of 37 anti-submarine helicopters.
It is expected that the RFP may be for 26 Sea King anti-submarine and troop carrying helicopters and 11 Kamov-28 choppers. Cumulatively, the contract may be worth up to Rs1450 crore.
According to officials, delivery of 12 single-seat MiG-29K and 4 two-seat MiG-29KUB would start by the end of the year. These aircraft are meant for deployment on the INS Vikramaditya (ex-Admiral Gorshkov) aircraft carrier, currently being refitted in Russia. It is uncertain when the aircraft carrier will join the fleet. It was originally meant to be deployed with the navy by 2008.
The aircraft are likely to be based at the Dabolim-based naval air station at Goa.
Officials also hinted that the Navy may also be looking to acquire its own airborne early warning aircraft.
The navy currently operates a fleet of 14 Sea King and 12 Kamov anti-submarine helicopters. The Sea Kings, in addition to their anti-submarine roles, also perform reconnaissance, search and rescue operations and ferry personnel and supplies.
The ministry has already issued an RFP for 197 helicopters meant for the army and the air force.