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India Launches Procurement Plans for Naval Helicopters

Service Seeks Total 234 Aircraft


On 22 August, the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) issued requests for information on behalf of the Indian Navy (IN), requesting contractor information for a total of 123 multi-role helicopters and 111 utility rotorcraft for the service. Contractors’ information is to be submitted no later than 6 October. 

The Naval Multi Role Helicopter (NMRH) programme seeks aircraft in two variants to be used in both regular and special operations, which will include anti-submarine warfare, ant-surface warfare, cargo and troop carriage, combat search and rescue and maritime interdiction missions. The procurement package calls for spare engines, three flight simulators, one maintenance simulator and infrastructure support including 10 years’ performance based logistics, shore support, training, documentation and spares. Maximum ‘Made in India’ content is to be channelled through a strategic partner when announced – a request for proposals is likely to be issued by mid-2018.

The Naval Utility Helicopter (NUH) programme calls for approximately 111 aircraft, two flight simulators and one maintenance simulator, with technology transfer, infrastructure, performance based logistics, training and shore support on a similar scale to the NMRH. Again, a strategic partner will coordinate the manufacture in India of as much of the selected platform and associated equipment as possible. The NUH is to be capable of day/night operations in search and rescue, medical evacuation, communications, anti-piracy, anti-terrorism, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and surveillance/targeting missions.

Both aircraft are urgently required – the NMRH to replace ageing CHETAKs and the NUH to relieve the elderly SEA KING fleet. The great majority of the IN’s 140 warships currently operate without helicopters. 

The multi-billion dollar procurement is covered by the strategic partnership model of the Defence Procurement Procedure, which aims at bringing high-end defence technology to India’s defence industrial base. An earlier plan for direct import of 56 NUH was scrapped earlier this year in favour of the new acquisition model, as was a plan originally conceived in 2009 to buy 16 NMRH from Sikorsky.

Tim Mahon


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