NEW DELHI — The Indian Defence Ministry has asked competitors Sikorsky and NHIndustries (NHI) to extend their proposals until Dec. 31 in the $1 billion Indian Navy tender for 16 multirole helicopters. The deadline for the proposals had expired in July.
The tender is awaiting the final outcome after trials have finished, but NHI has complained that the Sikorsky helicopter had not met the technical requirements.
Sikorsky’s S-70B helicopter is pitched against NHI’s NH90 helicopter.
The S-70B is ahead of the NH90 after the flight trials, said sources, but a complaint from Eurocopter to the Defence Ministry alleging a lack of transparency in the procurement procedure is delaying declaration of the lowest bidder.
Meanwhile, the Defence Ministry has already decided to float a global tender worth $4 billion for the purchase of an additional 75 multirole helicopters.
The multirole helicopters will be needed to replace 1980-era Sea King helicopters, the majority of which are grounded due to old age and shortage of spares. The helicopters will also be used in limited intelligence gathering, search and rescue, and casualty evacuation.