NEW DELHI (PTI): A more than six year-old tender of the Indian Navy to procure multirole helicopters would be further delayed as the two participating vendors in the deal have been asked to extend the validity of their proposals for six more months.
This is the second time in the last one year that the Defence Ministry has asked the American Sikorsky and European NH Industries to extend the validity of their proposals for the tender expected to be worth over $1 billion for buying 16 choppers.
"We have been asked by the Defence Ministry to extend the validity of our proposal for the tender," Sikorsky India head AVM (retd) A J S Walia told PTI here.
Defence ministry sources confirmed the development but refused to elaborate.
The Navy is procuring these choppers for carrying out anti-submarine warfare and surveillance roles and augment its fleet of Sea King helicopters.
The Navy had completed the trials of the participating helicopters in 2011 and submitted its report with the Defence Ministry.
Sikorsky has fielded its S-70 Blackhawk helicopter and NHI has offered its NH-90 helicopters for the tender.
The process to procure these choppers was started by the Navy over six years ago but not much progress has been made in the tender by it.
The tender has also been delayed due to complaints made by NHI against its rival Sikorsky where it has questioned the capabilities of the platform offered by the American firm.
Earlier, another US firm Lockheed Martin was also participating in the tender but was asked to withdraw from the race as its platform MH-60 Romeo was available only through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route of American arms sale policy.
Under FMS, the deal is signed between the two governments and the platform comes at a higher price.Asian Defence News