|OFFICIAL BELL HELICOPTER ART OF THE 407GT|
U.S. firm Bell Helicopter, which competed in the original effort (that began in 2003) has signalled that it will be re-entering the competition this year through local partners. Livefist learns that Bell Helicopter and an Indian partner will field the Bell 407GT in the new RSH contest.
Bell reportedly withdrew from the original competition in 2006 after it was informed that the 407 hadn’t satisfactorily demonstrated the three-axis vector maneouver during field evaluation trials. The competition went into the ground a year later when a complaint by Bell on the trials compelled the government to scrap a potential decision to award the contest to Eurocopter. The fresh contest sees another possible face-off between Bell and Airbus.
The MoD has extended its deadline for interest from vendors three times since November last year, actions that speak loud about a desire perhaps for maximum participation. The truth is, two successive aborts have brought with them a measure of damage to confidence in India’s ability to see crucial acquisition programmes through. The MoD sees the the light helicopter competition as a fairly uncompl
In a separate but related development, Airbus Helicopter has informed Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (which license builds Alouette-II/IIIs in India) that its inventory of rotor blade kits for the Cheetah and Chetak have been exhausted, and that a previous order will necessarily be the last one.
As Livefist reported recently, the other side the light copter modernisation effort is seeing forward movement too, with HAL’s LUH scheduled for a first flight soon.