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October 15, 2015

Coast Guard to finally get choppers it wanted post 26/11; Airbus emerges as lead

 
The coast guard is finally close to getting its own fleet of medium lift choppers, the requirement for which was raised after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks that exposed chinks in the surveillance and interception capabilities of the force.  While the coast guard currently operates ageing Chetaks as well as indigenous Advanced Light Choppers (ALH) for patrolling, search and rescue and casualty evacuation, it will be able to cover larger areas faster with the new fleet.
Sources have told ET that Airbus as emerged as the lead bidder for a Rs 2000 crore coast guard competition to procure 14 helicopters. The EC 725 is learnt to have beat its competitor, Sikorsky's S 92 after commercial bids were opened earlier this month.  While initially, three competitors were bidding for the contract, Italian firm Finmeccanica was dropped in 2014 after it came under a corruption taint following the VVIP chopper deal scandal. Officials said that whole both the EC 725 and S 92 managed to meet all the technical requirements of the coast guard after two years of extensive trials, the Airbus machine turned out to be cheaper.
The contract will also lead to the pumping in of over Rs 600 crores into the Indian defence and aerospace manufacturing sector as it carries an offset obligation of at least 30 percent for the winner. However, the conclusion of the contract would take a few more months after price negotiations with Airbus.  "We are in touch with the Indian MoD regarding the tender for 14 shore-based helicopters for the Indian Coast Guard and will be honoured to progress our discussions with them,"  an Airbus spokesperson said.

economictimes

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