India is likely to issue a fresh tender in the coming months in its search for 16 anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters, plus eight options, citing technical shortfalls in the responses that the competition elicited last year, writes Siva Govindasamy.
AgustaWestland, Sikorsky and a consortium of Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) and Eurocopter submitted responses in April 2006 to a request for proposals (RFP) issued in late 2005. A decision on which aircraft would proceed to the demonstration phase had been expected within the next month, but it now appears that the Indian navy has decided to issue a fresh tender instead.
"The manufacturers have been informally advised that none of the proposals were determined to be technically compliant. A re-tender is expected by April," says an industry source, who adds that the navy could also adjust some of its requirements.
"It's very frustrating," says an official from one of the bidding manufacturers. "The government has kept us waiting for more than a year since we responded to the RFP, and it now appears as though all our efforts have been wasted.
"Yet the bureaucrats were saying just earlier this month at Aero India that the military contracts are very important, and that the tenders will be dealt with on an urgent basis. It's almost as though they can't make their minds up."
AgustaWestland responded to the earlier RFP, leading a bid based on NH Industries' NH90, while HAL and Eurocopter proposed the EC725. Sikorsky is offering S-70B Seahawks through a direct commercial contract and MH-60Rs via the US government as a foreign military sale.

Source: Flight International