Glim­mer of hope for 197 RSH com­pe­ti­tion

SP's MAI - - SP’S EXCLUSIVES -

In­di­cat­ing pos­si­ble pos­i­tive move­ment in the in­ter­minably stalled re­con­nais­sance and sur­veil­lance he­li­copter (RSH) ac­qui­si­tion pro­gramme, the two fi­nal­ist ven­dors Euro­copter (now Air­bus He­li­copter) and Kamov have ex­tended the va­lid­ity of their com­mer­cial bids till June 2014. Both com­pa­nies have con­firmed that the Min­istry of De­fence (MoD) for­mally re­quested the va­lid­ity ex­ten­sion, point­ing out that a de­ci­sion could be afoot.

It has been three years since the Army and IAF sub­mit­ted field eval­u­a­tion trial re­ports to the MoD in Jan­uary 2011. Since then, the MoD has or­dered Tech­ni­cal Over­sight Com­mit­tee (TOC) to val­i­date the Gen­eral Staff Eval­u­a­tion re­port, a Spe­cial Tech­ni­cal Over­sight Com­mit­tee (STOC) to val­i­date the TOC re­port, a re­port has been with the De­fence Sec­re­tary since June 2012. The fall­out of the Fin­mec­ca­nica in­ves­ti­ga­tions, which re­sulted in the regis­tra­tion of a case against a serv­ing Bri­gadier of the In­dian Army for pos­si­ble malfea­sance dur­ing the first it­er­a­tion of the RSH ef­fort, is said to have slowed a de­ci­sion on the com­pe­ti­tion, with re­ports even sug­gest­ing that it could be aborted for a se­cond time. With the two com­pa­nies now con­firm­ing in­di­ca­tions of for­ward move­ment from the MoD, there may be rea­son to be­lieve the deal isn’t canned just yet.

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