Navy MRH pro­gramme in 27-month limbo, and count­ing


NH In­dus­tries and Siko­rsky have ex­tended the va­lid­ity of their commercial bids in the In­dian Navy’s multi-role he­li­copter (MRH) com­pe­ti­tion till March 2014 at the re­quest of the Min­istry of De­fence (MoD). The Siko­rsky S-70B Sea Hawk faces off against the NH In­dus­tries NH90. The com­pe­ti­tion has been float­ing in un­cer­tainty for over two years now (27 months to be pre­cise) since the field eval­u­a­tion tri­als ended in late 2011. A se­nior ex­ec­u­tive at Air­bus He­li­copters (for­merly Euro­copter), which owns a con­trol­ling stake at NH In­dus­tries, told SP’s, “We are wait­ing for the commercial bids to be opened. The only ac­tiv­ity we have seen for the last two years is re­peated re­quests to ex­tend the va­lid­ity of our commercial bids. We await clar­ity and guid­ance on for­ward move­ment in the deal.” A se­nior ex­ec­u­tive at Siko­rsky said, “It is un­der­stand­able that the time is not op­ti­mal for a de­ci­sion, but it is un­clear why the due process should not con­tinue. The bids could be opened and an eval­u­a­tion can be­gin. We have re­ceived no in­for­ma­tion on what the hold-up is about.” The In­dian Navy waits anx­iously on the side­lines, as it des­per­ately needs the new gen­er­a­tion multi-role he­li­copters for op­er­a­tions at sea. MoD sources in­di­cate that bids may only be opened in the new fi­nan­cial year, which means, an­other re­quest for bid va­lid­ity to be ex­tended till De­cem­ber 31, 2014, is likely.

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