India Relaunches Light Helicopter Contest
Indian helicopter requirements provided the only real news at this month’s Aero India event in Bangalore. Indian officials confirmed the relaunch of the competition for nearly 200 armed light helicopters, a requirement that is now called the reconnaissance and surveillance helicopter (RSH). Eurocopter has proposed the AS 550 C3 Fennec, with license-manufacture by Hindustan Aeronautics. AgustaWestland has proposed the AW119, and signed an MoU with Tata to establish a final assembly line for its RSH in India. Bell decided not to bid the Model 407CS, because it was unwilling to meet the 50-percent offset commitment. A tender for 22 attack helicopters has attracted bids from AgustaWestland (the A129), Eurocopter (Tiger HAD) and Rosboronexport/Rostvertol (Mi-28 NE). Again, the offset requirements, together with Indian reluctance to purchase the attack helos via the U.S. FMS system, caused Bell to pass on the opportunity to bid the AH-1Z. Finally, a tender for 12 VIP helicopters for the Indian armed forces has reached a significant stage, according to AgustaWestland, which has bid the AW101.