ndia’s government has cancelled its $770 million contract with AgustaWestland to supply 12 AW101 VIP helicopters to the Indian Air Force (IAF) amid bribery allegations. On January 1, the Ministry of Defense (MOD) issued a statement saying the government “has terminated with immediate effect the agreement…on the grounds of breach of the pre-contract integrity pact and the agreement” by AgustaWestland. The Anglo-Italian helicopter manufacturer denies the allegations.
Indian Air Force
The contract between India and Russia to cooperate on the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile expires in February next year but is likely “to be renewed indefinitely by the end of [this] year,” an Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) official, who did not wish to be identified, told AIN. “We’re partners. It’s not for us to divulge,” Shivathnu Pillai, CEO and managing director of BrahMos Aerospace, told AIN.
India’s attorney general, Goolamhussein Essaji Vahanvati, ruled last week that AgustaWestland breached contractual obligations and an associated “integrity pact” in winning a $787 million contract to supply 12 AW101 VIP helicopters to the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2010, raising the possibility the government will cancel the deal.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has expressed concern that major aviation-related defense procurements will be delayed following the sudden death of Arun Kumar Bal, Ministry of Defense chief negotiator for air acquisitions. “It will take around three months for his replacement. This is a setback for anything the IAF is acquiring,” Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne told AIN.
Russia’s Tactical Missile Corporation is negotiating with Dassault Aviation for the possible use of its missiles on the Rafale combat jets that have been selected by the Indian Air Force (IAF). The corporation, whose Russian acronym is TRV, told journalists attending last week’s Maks air show in Moscow that the Indian air force has large stocks of Russian air-launched weapons, which drives its interest in adapting them to the French warplane.
Landslides and flooding in the mountains of North India in mid-June that killed approximately 10,000 and stranded more than 80,000 triggered the largest-ever search-and-rescue operation by the Indian military. The more than 60 aircraft involved in the operation contended with treacherous weather, low visibility and strong winds; high-tension wires; and no infrastructure or lights on the ground in perilous landing zones with no helipads.
Heightened awareness of the steady growth in regional air traffic among small and medium-sized cities has convinced the Indian government to commit some $2 billion for the development of a 70- to 90-seat civilian aircraft. “This is a strategic sector where there is a need to have a presence in the long term, particularly in view of the rapid growth of our aviation sector.” said Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
India will likely extend the submission deadline of a request for proposals (RFP) to replace the Indian Air Force’s aging Avro/Hawker Siddeley HS.748M turboprops by another month, a defense ministry official told AIN. The deadline is currently October 8; however, manufacturers face a challenge in identifying private partners in India that have adequate facilities for final assembly and component and sub-system manufacture of the replacement aircraft.
Air India’s seventh GEnx-1B-powered Boeing 787 of the 27 ordered is taking flight at the flying display here at the Paris Air Show. The airline will take delivery of this 787 next month, and a total of eight by the end of this year, five in 2014, six in 2015 and two in 2016. A Qatar Airways 787, which flew at the Farnborough Air Show last year, is also on static display here.
A target for criticism over delays in projects in the past, India’s largest defense manufacturer, government-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) is undergoing a transformation of its human resource through training and innovative programs. This is focusing on two urgent requirements–the overdue Light Combat Aircraft (LCA); and the Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT).