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America's Sikorsky bags Rs6,000-cr deal for Navy copters

06 December 2014

US manufacturer Sikorsky, part of the United Technologies Corporation group, has been selected for the supply of 16 multi-role helicopters for the Indian Navy in a contract worth Rs6,000 crore, defence ministry officials said on Friday.

Sikorsky AircraftCommercial bids were opened on Thursday and as Sikorsky's S-70B helicopter was the sole player left after a ''partial ban'' on the European company Finmeccanica, it was declared the winner.

Air vice marshal (retd) Arvind Walia, Sikorsky's regional executive for India and South Asia, confirmed receiving an invitation for final negotiations from the defence ministry.

''We are looking for fruitful negotiations with the MoD and the Navy to deliver the product at the earliest to bolster the capabilities of the Navy'' he said.

The Indian Navy in 2008 floated a global tender for 16 multi-role helicopters to operate from its warships with an option for eight more. Finmecccanica with its NH-90 and Sikrosky with S-70B were left in the evaluation, which saw many claims and counter claims of deviation in the process.

A partial ban was imposed on Finmeccanica, the Italian parent company of AgustaWestland, after the controversy over the Rs3,550-crore VVIP helicopter deal in August this year (See: VVIP chopper scam: Finmeccanica barred from fresh contracts). The partial ban meant the company would not be able to take part in any future defence deals, the Defence Acquisition Council clarified earlier.

S-70B is the naval variant of the US Army's Black Hawk UH 60 helicopter. It can be used both for anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare.

Sources said the negotiations would be fast-tracked as the Navy is in critical need of the helicopters.

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