Sikorsky will pitch its S-92 for the eventual re-tendering of India's requirement for VVIP transport helicopters.
AJS Walia, Sikorsky's regional executive for India and south Asia, expects a request for information (RFI) for the requirement some time later this year.
Walia believes the fact that the S-92's fuselage is produced by its Tata Sikorsky joint venture in Hyderabad will give the US helicopter a significant edge in the competition, which is likely to be for eight VVIP-equipped aircraft and four support helicopters. This is especially relevant, he says, given India’s “Make in India” campaign for the procurement of military hardware.
The S-92 lost out to the AgustaWestland AW101 in a previous VVIP competition, but allegations of corruption derailed an acquisition of the European type in 2013, after the delivery of three aircraft.
Airbus Helicopters says it, too, will be interested in any re-tendering of the VVIP helicopter dea, with its EC225.
Meanwhile, Sikorsky is in final negotiations with India’s government for 16 S-70B Seahawk helicopters, following the type’s victory in the navy’s multirole helicopter competition. The aircraft will be acquired on a direct commercial sale basis, while the navy also has options for eight additional aircraft.
Source: Flight International