In­dian Coast Guard chop­per com­pe­ti­tion moves for­ward


Woe­fully short of avi­a­tion as­sets, the In­dian Coast Guard fi­nally has rea­son to cheer, with the tech­ni­cal bids from three ven­dors to sup­port a sale of 14 shore-based twin-en­gine mul­ti­role he­li­copters is com­plete, paving the way for the field eval­u­a­tion tri­als (FET) stage. The three com­pa­nies com­pet­ing are Euro­copter, Siko­rsky and Agus­taWest­land.

The RFP for the ac­qui­si­tion—one of two, the other be­ing for 16 ship­borne mul­tiu­til­ity chop­pers—was is­sued on Novem­ber 5, 2012. In April this year, De­fence Min­is­ter A.K. Antony clar­i­fied on Agus­taWest­land’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in on­go­ing In­dian ten­ders in the light of the VVIP he­li­copter in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

He in­formed Par­lia­ment, “Since no de­ci­sion to de­bar the said com­pany from par­tici- pa­tion in the pro­cure­ment process has so far been taken, the bids are un­der process.” Min­istry of De­fence (MoD) sources sug­gest that even in a worst case sce­nario, the po­ten­tial ejec­tion of Agus­taWest­land from the com­pe­ti­tion in the event of a pos­si­ble black­list, would leave two con­tenders in the fray, thereby avoid­ing a sin­gle ven­dor sit­u­a­tion, and there­fore avoid­ing a re-ten­der.

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