De­ci­sion on 197 light he­li­copters soon

SP's MAI - - SP’S EXCLUSIVES -

Euro­copter is wait­ing with baited breath with the cru­cial 197 re­con­nais­sance and sur­veil­lance he­li­copter com­pe­ti­tion headed to­wards a pos­si­ble de­ci­sion shortly. A spe­cial tech­ni­cal over­sight com­mit­tee (STOC) that had been set up by the De­fence Min­istry to scru­ti­nise cer­tain qual­i­ta­tive re­quire­ment waivers in the com­pe­ti­tion had been raised by a third party that was not part of the tri­als. It is un­der­stood that the STOC has rec­om­mended that the waivers are ac­cept­able to both the In­dian Army and the In­dian Air Force, for whom the he­li­copters are in­tended. The Euro­copter AS550 Fen­nec and Kamov Ka-226 Sergei are in close con­tention for the $750-mil­lion deal that will pro­gres­sively re­place Chee­tah and Chetak fleets in the Army and the IAF. For Euro­copter, the deal is a del­i­cate one. In late 2007, af­ter its Fen­nec was short­listed for a con­tract, the deal was aborted at the last minute fol­low­ing al­le­ga­tions of di­ver­gence from laid down pro­cure­ment norms. An­other abort could prove dis­as­trous to both the com­peti­tors as well as to the armed forces, which des­per­ately need light he­li­copters, es­pe­cially for high al­ti­tude op­er­a­tions.

Kamov Ka-226 Sergei

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