India Navy H-3 Sea King. Photo courtesy of the India Navy
India’s defense ministry has set an Oct. 6 deadline for manufacturers to submit proposals to supply the country’s navy with 123 multi-role/anti-submarine warfare helicopters and 111 light, armed utility rotorcraft, according to numerous media reports.
Citing “informed sources,” the reports said the ministry Aug. 22 issued a request for information for rotorcraft manufacturers to lay out how they would supply the needed aircraft under the new "strategic partnership" policy of the "Make in India" program. That program aims to transform India into a global design and manufacturing hub by promoting domestic production, particularly through collaboration with foreign firms.
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.