Bell withdraws AH-1Z from India's attack helicopter contest

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Bell Helicopter confirms that it has withdrawn from an opportunity to offer the AH-1Z Super Cobra for a $600 million tender for attack helicopters in India.

"Although Bell did consider offering its AH-1Z, we will be declining the opportunity to participate in the [request for proposal] process because the AH-1Z has not yet completed its operational evaluation process with the US Navy," the company says.

The AH-1Z entered operational evaluation testing last year, but it was halted less than halfway through due to technical problems with its integrated helmet targeting systems and other sensors. The Super Cobra is still due to enter operation service for the US Marine Corps in fiscal year 2011.

 
© Bell Helicopter

Bell's decision to drop out of the Indian competition leaves at least four likely contenders, the AgustaWestland AW149, Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow, Eurocopter Tiger and Mil Mi-28.

The Indian air force plans to sign a contract for 22 helicopters in 2011 and complete deliveries by 2014.