US cos re-enter race to sell gunships to India
Washington: American military aviation
companies have announced their intention to re-enter the race
for India`s massive USD 1.4 billion contracts for purchase of
22 attack helicopters, almost a year after withdrawing from
The American intentions were made clear with the Pentagon
notifying US Congress about the possible sale of helicopter
gunships to India and clearing the sale of AGM-84L Harpoon
Block II missiles to the country to arm Indian Navy`s about to
be delivered P-81 Neptune maritime patrol aircraft.
According to the Pentagon notification, the American
aviation giant Boeing will re-bid for the Indian contract with
its Apache AH-64D helicopter gunships, which have proved their
mettle in the ongoing Iraq and Afghan conflict.
But it is not clear whether the other American armament
giant the Bell helicopters may also join the race with its
Super AH-12 Cobra attack helicopters.
The American companies had withdrawn from the tender in
2009 as the Indian Government wanted to deal directly with
armament companies to speed up the acquisitions to replace its
ageing Russian made fleet of 32 MI-24/35 attack helicopters.
After the US companies withdrew from the tender, the
Indian Government cancelled the contract at the last moment
when only European bidder Eurocopter was left in the hunt.
New Delhi recently floated a fresh Request for Proposals
(RFP) earlier this year for the attack helicopters. The
acquisition of 22 gunships is part of a massive deal to
augment the Indian Air Forces fixed wing fleet by inducting
light, medium and heavy lift helicopters.
Besides Boeing and other American companies, EADS the
makers of Eurocopter, Augusta Westland and Russian companies
are in the fray for the helicopter contract.
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