In one of the biggest global tenders for helicopters issued recently, a Request for Information (RfI) was issued by the ministry of defence for over 200 helicopters for Indian Navy under the new strategic partnership (SP) model. The RFI has been sent to several companies including US based Bell Helicopters, Sikorsky (which has been acquired by Lockheed Martin) and Airbus of Europe for 111 Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH) and 123 Naval Multi-role Helicopters (NMRH), with anti-submarine warfare capabilities. The companies have to respond by October 6, 2017. According to the RfI, both tenders were under the SP model that was recently approved by the government under the Defence Procurement Procedure-2016. Both will be global tenders for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM). The SP model envisages the establishment of long-term strategic partnerships with qualified Indian industry majors, wherein the Indian industry partners would tie up with global original equipment manufacturers, to seek technology transfer and manufacturing know-how to set up domestic manufacturing infrastructure and supply chains in defence manufacturing. As reported by FE earlier, four sectors have been finalised for the model — fighter aircraft, helicopters, submarines and armoured fighting vehicles and main battle tanks. The proposals for the NUH and NMRH were pending for long as the finalisation of Strategic Partnership model took long. The Naval Utility Helicopters will replace the aging fleet of Chetak helicopters. The Indian Navy has been facing a shortage of helicopters, and requires the Multi-Role Helicopters for deployment on its warships.
In 2014, MoD had scrapped a Rs 6,500 crore Navy helicopter deal for buying 16 multi-role helicopters for the Navy from US to promote ‘Make in India’ in the military sector. The RfI for 123 NMRH is along-with spare engines, three flight simulators, one maintenance simulator, and infrastructure including ToT (transfer of technology), 10 year performance based logistics (PBL), associated shore support, engineering support package (ESP), training, documentation and spares package along with contemporary state of the art equipment, weapons and sensors under SP. The indigenous manufactured portion of the procurement is to be manufactured in India based on design to be provided by the foreign OEM to the selected Strategic Partner. The ministry has sought information from the helicopter OEMs/authorised agencies for participation in NMRH project in accordance with Chapter VII of DPP 2016. The RFP for the acquisition is likely to be issued by mid 2018. The RfI for 111 NUH includes two flight simulators, one maintenance simulator and infrastructure including ToT, associated shore support, PBL, training, documentation and spares package along with contemporary state of the art equipment, weapons and sensors under Strategic Partnership.It will be indigenously manufactured in India alongwith a local partner.