By S.L. Fuller | September 4, 2017
The Indian Navy wants helicopters for special operations, and plans to procure nearly three dozen, The Hindu reported. According to numerous media reports, India’s defense ministry plans to procure 234 helicopters for its navy.
“Of the 123 [multi-role helicopters] to be procured, 33 will be dedicated variants for Special Operations," The Hindu reported a senior officer as saying.
According to news reports, the ministry set an Oct. 6 deadline for manufacturers to submit proposals for the tender. A request for information (RFI) was issued last week.
The Hindu said that according to the RFI, the helicopters would be twin-engine and weigh at least 12.5 tons. They would also be able to carry 12 fully equipped troops along with some 882 pounds of equipment, or eight fully equipped troops and one auto-inflatable craft in a stowed configuration, according to the report. Presumably, the review of responses to the RFI would lead to a request for proposals. As with many nations, India’s defense acquisition programs can be protracted and often cancelled and re-bid. The media reports valued the two proposed helicopter acquisitions at more than $5 billion.
India’s 140-ship fleet is supported by fewer than 30 Kamov Ka-28s and H-3 Sea Kings, according to the media reports, which added many of the rotorcraft are not in flying condition.