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Friday, April 11, 2008

Report: India Plans 384-Helicopter Program

India plans to put out a request for proposals for 384 light helicopters within two weeks, according to the news service Agence France-Presse. Quoting a source in that nation's weapons-contract clearing agency, it said the call for tenders was approved yesterday. The call will cover a $600 million Indian army contract for 197 light utility helicopters that was awarded to Eurocopter early this year and then cancelled. It adds to that an air force need for 115 such helicopters and an additional, unspecified requirement that raises the number to 384. Initially valued at $1.6 billion, the news service said, the contract likely would end up costing at least $2 billion. India is expected to seek bids from AgustaWestland, Bell Helicopter, Eurocopter, and Russia's Kamov. About half of the 384 helicopters would have to be produced by India's Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. AFP said India also plans a separate request for proposals for "a large number of heavy-lift helicopters." For related news
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