Ministry of Defence to scrap $1.5-bn deal for 197 light utility helicopters deal
Sources told FE on conditions of anonymity, "If the197 helicopter RfP is cancelled then it will be unfortunate, this is a very compelling requirement as India’s high altitude border posts struggle for adequate support."
"Also, two rounds of trials for these helicopters have already taken place and a substantial amount of money has been spent on the trials. So, by putting the 197 helicopter deal in cold storage means large amount of money has been wasted and to add to this the in house disagreement between the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Army does not bode well for the modernisations plans of the forces," sources added.
The procurement of 197 light helicopters - to replace the ageing Cheetah/Chetak fleets that undertake patrol, reconnaissance and casualty evacuation missions in forward locations and high-altitude areas like Siachen – too has been dogged by technical deviation complaints.
"The special technical oversight committee (STOC), has cleared the minor deviations detected in the trials conducted between the twin-engine Kamov and the single-engine Eurocopter, holding both met the operational requirements," said a source.
The old designs of the Cheetah/Chetak have consistently proven themselves in high altitude operations, and remain useful as long as their airframes remain safe. The problem is
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