India is planning to carry out field trials for procuring 197 Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) for the Army and the Air Force in August this year.
“We are planning to carry out the flight evaluation trials for the 197 LUH contract in August this year but the schedule has not yet been finalised. Five vendors are expected to come up with their helicopters for the competition,” Indian Defence Ministry officials told PTI in Paris.
The five contenders participating in the contract include the Russian Kazan and Mil, American Sikorsky, Italian Finnmeccanica and European helicopter manufacturers Eurocopter.
The contract, expected to be worth around USD three billion, is one of the few defence contracts where the vendors are required to fulfill around 50 per cent offset obligations.
The offsets clause in the Defence Procurement Procedures makes it mandatory for the companies awarded such deals to invest a certain percentage of the contract’s worth back in the Indian defence sector.
In March this year, all the five companies responded to the global Request for Proposal (RFP) issued by the Defence Ministry last year.
The RFP was sent to six companies, including American Bell Helicopters, but it had backed out of the race citing the high offset obligations required in the contract.