Navy to issue world`s largest chopper tender

The Indian Navy is planning to procure more than 75 choppers at an estimated cost of over USD four billion.

New Delhi: In one of the world`s largest tenders for multirole helicopters, the Indian Navy is planning to procure more than 75 such choppers at an estimated cost of over USD four billion to meet the demand of its expanding area of operations.

The Navy had recently asked global helicopter vendors to provide details about naval multirole helicopters and is planning to issue a global Request for Proposal (RFP) in this regard very soon.

"The Indian Navy would require more than 75 of these Naval Multirole Helicopters (NMRH) and this would be world`s largest tender for multirole helicopters," US defence major Lockheed Martin`s vice president for Ship and Aviation Systems George Barton told a news agency here.

The Navy is planning to procure these new NMRH for carrying out anti-submarine warfare, Special Forces` operations and anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. Barton said the US Navy operates a fleet of over 350 MH-60 variants.

The Indian Navy is already holding a competition for procuring 16 multirole helicopters in which European NH-90 and American Sikorsky S-70 Bravo are in the race.

The Navy at present relies on its fleet of Sea King helicopters which were inducted in two different phases in the 80s.

The Navy would require these multirole choppers in view of its expanding fleet size and expansion in its area of responsibility with the government stating that country`s strategic interest ranges from the Gulf of Aden to the Malacca Straits.

The Indian Army and the Air Force have also issued a tender for procuring 197 light utility helicopters but the worth of the choppers in the naval tender is expected to be much more than that as they would be equipped with complex machinery and weapon systems.