India Relaunches Light Helicopter Contest

 - February 17, 2009, 11:45 AM

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.