New Delhi: The Indian Navy will opt for open competitive bidding for a multi-billion dollar deal to supply at least 16, and as many as 60, multi-role helicopters (MRH) and will not consider an American offer to supply such helicopters through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route.
The US Navy had offered the MH-60 'Romeo' through an inter-governmental agreement to meet the navy's requirement but the proposal has been rejected, Indian defence ministry sources said on Thursday.
The FMS route allows supply of weapon systems directly by the US government without any global tender being issued.
Following the Indian government's decision, only two contenders - the American Sikorsky-built S-70 Bravo and the European NH-90 – are now in the fray to take part in field evaluation trials, sources said.
The trials are expected to start sometime later this year.
The NATO frigate Helicopter (NFH) NH-90 is a product of NH Industries, which is a joint venture company owned by AgustaWestland (32%) of Italy, Eurocopter (62.5%) and Stork Fokker (5.5%) of the Netherlands.