Navy to get advanced choppers
Initiate steps to procure 123 Multi-Role, 111 Naval Utility Helicopters from abroad
With expanding profile in the Indian Ocean Region, the Indian Navy is looking to add to its fleet dedicated helicopters for ‘Special Operations’. Some of the Naval Multi-Role Helicopters (NMRH) for which the tender was issued last week will be in this configuration.
“Of the 123 NMRH to be procured, 33 will be dedicated variants for Special Operations,” a senior officer told The Hindu.
Last week, the Navy had issued the Request for Information (RFI) to global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) for the procurement of 123 NMRH and 111 Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH). The procurement would be under the recently approved Strategic Partnership (SP) model of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP).
Some of the 33 helicopters would be used for training Marine Commandos (MARCOS) and the rest would be based on shore as well as on frontline warships, the officer added.
The helicopters would be twin-engine and weigh at least 12.5 tonnes. According to the RFI, the requirements include the ability to carry 12 fully equipped troops along with 400 Kg of equipment or eight fully equipped troops and one auto inflatable craft in a stowed configuration.
In addition to special operations and commando role, the helicopters will also perform other roles like ferrying troops, maritime interdiction including anti-piracy operations, combat search and rescue operation, external cargo carriage, limited casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR).
The Navy currently has a few variants of Sea King helicopters in service. But they are of 1970s vintage and technologically obsolete. Several attempts to replace them have failed in the past.
Flying high: A file photo of a Sea King helicopter.