Singapore has issued a revised tender for six naval helicopters in a newly reduced configuration, restarting a procurement delayed two years by budget constraints, writes Brendan Sobie.

Eurocopter, NH Industries and Sikorsky received a new invitation to tender late last month and have until 1 June to respond with bids for the AS532C Cougar, NH90 and S-70, respectively, say industry sources.

The three manufacturers, originally shortlisted in 2001, submitted a second round of bids late last year. But Singapore let the bids expire at the end of March without selecting a winner, presumably because all three exceeded the budget.

Sources say Singapore, in an attempt to curb costs, has reduced the capability and quantity of sensors and weapons to be installed on the helicopters. Singapore is also requesting only four helicopters to be delivered fully equipped, with options to buy additional equipment for the other two later.

In previous tenders Singapore asked for costings on six to eight fully equipped helicopters for six new frigates to be delivered from 2005. The new bids will be valid through 31 March 2005, suggesting a contract by the end of the current fiscal year.

Source: Flight International