HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

Sikorsky to re-enter VVIP chopper fray

Rahul Singh, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 18, 2013
First Published: 00:36 IST(18/2/2013) | Last Updated: 01:57 IST(18/2/2013)

US helicopter-maker Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, which lost the Rs. 3,760-crore VVIP chopper deal to AgustaWestand, is preparing to re-enter the competition with an upgraded platform if India floats a fresh global tender.


India is terminating its contract with AgustaWestland following a kickback scandal.

Sikorsky had offered its S-92 choppers to India, but it failed to meet key requirements during the February 2008 US trials.

Air Vice-Marshal AJS Walia (retd), Sikorsky's India and South Asia head, told HT, "We will re-enter the fray if India floats a new tender. Shortcomings in the chopper will be addressed."

The IAF's report, submitted in April 2008, found the twin-engine S-92 lacking on four counts: missile approach warning system, service ceiling of 4,500 metres, the stipulated drift down altitude and hover out of ground effect.

HT had reported on Saturday India would consider going back to Russia to acquire a new VVIP fleet to replace its ageing Mi-8 choppers. A fresh tender may not be floated as this could delay the process, but the government is yet to take a final call on it.

All military purchases have to be made through competitive bidding. However, switching to a new vendor, Russia in this case, would not require tendering as this would be considered a "follow-on" order since India has already booked 139 Mi-17 V5 choppers for Rs. 13,200 crore.

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