|PHOTO / U.S. ARMY|
While Boeing had exuded confidence about winning the IAF’s attack helicopter deal — which it did with the AH-64D Apache Block III, since the Russian Mi-28N had failed to meet requirements in field trials — the heavy copter competition was more tricky, since both the Chinook and Mi-26 had been found compliant, and passed trials. In fact, earlier this month, Rosoboronexport had issued a statement to say, “Rosoboronexport offers the unique Mi-26T2 helicopter world-famous for its lifting capacity. As is known, Russian Mi-26s flew many transport missions in Afghanistan on evacuation of downed or failed Chinook helicopters. Russian pilots were commended by the US President for one such mission performed in 2009.”
That the American machine beat the Russian one, at least apparently, on price is interesting. Commercial negotiations with Boeing are expected to commence shortly.
Boeing’s director for rotorcraft business development Mark Ballew is quoted to have said on October 24 that the company expected the Indian contract to be signed next year, which sounds about right.