WORlD’S laRgeSt chOPPeR cOmPetitiON DelayeD
It has been confirmed that delays have once again cast uncertainty over the Indian Navys request for propsal (RFP) for the highly anticipated naval multi-role helicopter (NMRH) requirement, envisaging 120 multi-role helicopters for the Navy to be procured through the Buy & Make route of the defence procurement procedure. In all respects, it is likely to be the single largest helicopter tender by any Navy anywhere in the world.
A billion-dollar competition between the NH Industries NH90 and Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk for the separate multi-role helicopter (MRH) requirement remains delayed as a result of offsets snags, further delaying the Indian NavyÕs issuance of the NMRH RFP. Sources say things could finally be moving forward with the RFP, though it will not be released this financial year.
As reported earlier by SPs, the Navy needs the NMRH choppers for anti-submarine warfare, special missions over sea and land and utility/troop/logistical operations. Unlike the MRH, which is a two-horse race between Sikorsky and NH Industries, the NMRH — which at 120 helicopters is perhaps the largest helicopter tender in the world — will be a three-way competition fought between the Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky combine offering the MH-60 Romeo helicopter, the Airbus Helicopter EC725 — also pitched for the Indian Coast Guards requirement of 16 shore-based multi-role helicopters — and the NH90 in service with the navies of Netherlands and France. It is unclear at this time if Sikorsky will separately pitch a navalised version of the H-92 Superhawk, though there have been reports to suggest it may be considering the option