Glimmer of hope for 197 RSH competition
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.