India Intelligence Report

   Navy Seeks Advanced Choppers


The Navy is seeking the immediate purchase of 16 medium lift helicopters at the cost of USD 1 billion and an additional 8 in the next few months to fill the shortage of 46 helicopters. In addition it is negotiating a contract with British Aerospace, Israeli companies, and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to upgrade Sea King MK-42 anti-submarine warfare helicopters. Navy admits that frontline ships operate without dedicated helicopters.

Simultaneously, the Navy is also considering the purchase of 7 Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft from 6 vendors to replace ageing Tupolev TU-142 “Bear” aircraft. India has a 7,516 kilometer coastline in a dangerous area and its recon assets are considered vastly under-invested. The Navy floated a Request for Proposal (RFP) last year after it declined a US Navy proposal to lease two P3C Orion aircraft at USD 133 million because it does not make financial sense and also the timeline to refit the planes to meet Navy’s needs. The process of selection, qualification, and price negotiation is expected to be completed by mid 2007 after which the fleet is set to be operational in 4 years.

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