By Staff Writer | October 1, 2008
In February 2006, India’s navy set a March 2007 deadline to receive bids for 16-24 more anti-submarine warfare helicopters, but the manufacturers that were handed the request (AgustaWestland, Eurocopter, Kamov and Sikorsky Aircraft) asked for an extension. The bidding is open again for the 16 (and up to 60) advanced, multi-role naval helicopters and bidders include AgustaWestland, EADS (Eurocopter’s parent company) and Sikorsky. The Indian Navy has dropped the naval variant of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd’s Dhruv, because it failed to meet basic operational requirements. The navy operates six Dhruvs. The 16 aircraft would replace the 30-year-old Chetaks and Cheetahs and would be equipped with anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare equipment and be capable of aerial refueling. The navy also plans to acquire five more airborne early warning Kamov Ka-31 and about six heavy lift helicopters and is exploring the possibility of conducting mid-life upgrades on its Ka-28s and Westland Sea Kings.