September 20, 2014

Anti-submarine choppers to be made in India soon

The Indian Navy’s wait for the much-needed anti-submarine warfare helicopters to operate from its warships may just get longer. The Narendra Modi government, determined to push domestic manufacturing of defence equipment, is likely to scrap a plan to acquire a squadron of naval multi-role helicopters (NMRH) from global vendors and issue fresh requests for proposals, stipulating that these machines must be made in India and the main vendor should be Indian.
The idea is to shift these purchases to a category where India buys the technology from overseas and the manufacturing of the equipment/machine is done here. Under this “Buy and Make in India” policy of the defence ministry, 80% of the cost of development and prototyping will be borne by the government, while the remainder is to be financed by the developing agency (DA).
The scrapping of the plan to procure 16 NMRH from global vendors, which was meant to be the first phase of a contract to acquire a fleet of 91 such helicopters at a cost of $3 billion, would likely be announced after the next meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) at the end of this month, official sources told FE.
The NMRH fleet will be equipped with anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities and customised for amphibious assaults and commando operations. The Modi government’s decision is expected to generate business worth over
R20,0000 crore for the local industry, sources said.
The DAC, chaired by defence minister Arun Jaitley on July 19, had deferred the decision on the MRH helicopter project while clearing other military procurement proposals. The two contenders in the fray for the contract are the European NH-90 helicopter and the American Sikorsky-70B. “The navy had sought the way forward in the NMRH project, which also included deviations being sought by the two companies in their offsets proposals, but the DAC has kept the entire matter pending for now,” said a source.
The Indian Navy issued the request for information (RFI) for 16 NMRH in July 2011. This tender has been delayed as the defence ministry asked both finalists to extend the validity of their bids by another six months in July 2013.
Since then nothing moved as the government of the day had put everything on hold. As far as the navy is concerned, both contenders have met naval staff qualitative requirements for a multi-role chopper with its primary missions consisting of ASW


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