|An AgustaWestland AW101 on display at this year’s Farnborough airshow. Photo by Andrew Drwiega|
Although still conducting its investigation into whether senior managers from Finmeccanica’s subsidiary AgustaWestland paid bribes to win a defense contract for 12 AW101 Merlin VIP helicopters, Reuters news agency reports that the Indian Ministry of Defence has banned the Italian defense group from bidding for future defense contracts in India. This excludes contracts already ongoing between the two.
In January this year the Indian government cancelled the €560 million AW101 order, although three had already been delivered. There are currently at least two significant military helicopter requirements in India: one for 197 reconnaissance and surveillance helicopters to replace the seriously old Cheetah and Chetak helicopters, as well as a naval requirement for around 56 utility helicopters. The Indian Navy is also short of anti-submarine helicopters.
The allegation resulted in the arrest in February 2013 of two of Finmeccanica’s top officials, former AgustaWestland CEO Guiseppi Orsi who became Finmeccanica’s chairman, together with his successor at AgustaWestland Bruno Spagnolini.
Finmeccanica continues to deny the allegation.