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Thursday, May 1, 2008

India Plans 384-Helicopter Competition


India is expected to release a request by this month for bids to supply its military with 384 light utility helicopters.

The country’s defense ministry has decided to combine an Army requirement for 197 of those helicopters with an Air Force need for 115 and an additional, unspecified requirement that raises the number to 384. The new competition, which would lead to a contract valued at more than $1.6 billion, would replace an award to Eurocopter to provide 197 AS550C3s to the army. India scrapped that award because of discrepancies in the procurement process.

India is expected to seek bids from AgustaWestland, Bell Helicopter, Eurocopter and Kamov. About half of the 384 would have to be built by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. Bell was a finalist for the Army contract with a bid based on its Model 407.

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