Sunday, 15 July 2012

Indian MoD to decide fate of 197 chopper tender

The Indian Defence Ministry is expected to soon decide the fate of a deal to procure 197 light utility helicopters for the Army and Air Force after complaints were received about alleged deviations in tender norms during user trials of the participating companies.

Two companies including European Eurocopter and Russian Kamov are participating in the tender for supplying light helicopters to the two forces for replacing the fleet of vintage Cheetah/ Chetak choppers procured in the 1970s.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister A K Antony is expected to discuss the issue soon as a committee formed to look into the complaints of deviation from tender clauses has submitted its report with the Ministry, sources said here.

They said the Special Technical Oversight Committee (STOC) under Lt Gen was formed by the DAC to look into the complaints from one of the companies rejected at an earlier stage.

The STOC has now submitted its report and the DAC will examine in it in near future and will decide if the deviations can be accepted or not. If they are not acceptable, the tender can also be scrapped, they said.

"After going through everything, if anything goes wrong we will again cancel it," Antony said.

The induction of these 197 choppers, of which over 130 will go to the army and the remaining will be operated by the air force, has already been delayed by over four years as a previous tender in this regard had to be cancelled at the last stage after certain problems in the process.

One of the three companies to receive the RFP was Agusta Westland and was ejected out of the race by the army due to its non-compliance with service requirements.

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