Since an all-out cancellation would be too abrupt at this stage, my sources inform me that the deal is likely to languish without decision indefinitely. As I reported earlier, Eurocopter has refused to extend the validity of its commercial bid beyond March 31, 2013, leaving therefore very little time for “clear visibility” from the MoD. Plainly, it doesn’t look good.
And with a federal investigation into India’s acquisition of AgustaWestland AW101 executive transport helicopters announced yesterday, my sources tell me the collateral damage from the heat has only allowed the government to justify a non-decision on the light copter procurement. At any rate, it seems unlikely now that the government will make any major moves. Parliament reconvenes a week from now, and it promises to be (when is it not) full of righteous turbulence. I’ll be looking out for politicians who see the irony, of course, in a deal for copters for politicians going bad, and ending up shafting a deal for copters for army soldiers at India’s most hostile battlefields.
The Eurocopter AS 550 C3 Fennec and Kamov Ka-226T Sergei compete for a deal that could top $600-million, but appears now to be headed, once again, into oblivion. More here.