Indian Light Copter Bid Extended 7 Times, Could Exasperated Airbus Eject?

Two days after India’s new government took office on May 26, Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter) wrote the latest in a string of exasperated letters to the head of the Indian MoD’s acquisition wing. The letter, like every one of those before it, nearly pleaded for an early decision in India’s light helicopter competition that has remained more or less adrift for six years since bids were first submitted.

The competition for 197 light reconnaissance and surveillance helicopters (RSH) — 133 for the Army and 64 for the IAF — began in July 2008. Airbus’ letter last month is only the latest instalment of what has for a while been a painfully protracted graveyard spiral. The letter devotes a paragraph to grave support issues vexing the Cheetah/Chetak fleet of light choppers in service with the IAF and Army at high altitudes (this newspaper report two days after Airbus’ letter draws attention to precisely that), where the new choppers are intended as replacements. Last year, the deal was singed by investigations into India’s now infamous AgustaWestland VVIP copter deal. It was an ambiguous mess until the two companies — the other RusHeliCo for the Ka-226T Sergei — were told around Christmas last year that things would move forward.

Airbus sources says the company’s commercial bid, first submitted in December 2008, has been extended a record seven times. Reluctant to extend the bid for the seventh time last year, the company was told by the MoD that there was ‘positive movement’ and persuaded to extend the validity of its bid for the AS 550 C3 Fennec by six months. That bid expires at the end of the month we’re in. Again, no breaths held.

11 thoughts on “Indian Light Copter Bid Extended 7 Times, Could Exasperated Airbus Eject?”

  1. As long as these delays are helping to root out corruption, I'm all for it. These are growing pains.

    On the other hand, I am convinced that these delays are because someone is NOT getting paid.

  2. @ Satish Chandra

    I come to "Livefist" to get the latest defence updates. But you sir, just ruin my experience with all your idiotic and baseless talks. The blogger himself gave you a mild (?!) warning. Seems like it didn't have any effect on you.

    Well, I could just ignore you. But, I can't tolerate such non sensical bull shit you come up with every now and then.

    If you by any chance have something called self respect and self esteem, just enjoy the blog and don't make a clown out of yourself with your miserable conspiracies.


  3. Is the delay political ? How can there be corruption in a 2 horse race ? The ideal would be winner gets order and runner up needs to tie up with HAL to speed up their LUH.

  4. Damn it Shiv,

    Are you going to do something to this bastard troll Satish Chandra or not?

    Cut his crap and save your readers, PLZ.

  5. LOH/LUH/RSH seems like three versions of the same light helicopter which would replace Cheetah helos.

    If India opts from 197 helos from a foreign vendor, then what will justify the HAL project on lilght helicopters? Wouldn't AIR FORCE come up with Pilatus type argument that its better to have one type of helos for logistic simplicity?

    As far as HAL is concerned, t has reportedly adhered to all deadlines on LUH/LOH. The current government should give this issue a comrehensive look and then decide the best course.

    Remember,even if HAL is going slow, there is one option of involving private companies like TATA SED which is already making Sikorsky helicopters. Then, not only India can have light helos but can export as well.

    Similar private-public even international partnership could be initiated in Medium Lift Multi-role helos which are sorely needed in Navy and other branches.

    BTW SHIV, Thanks for taking care of that troll, who shouldn't be named.

  6. I don't understand why they are still faffing about trying to compartmentalize the various aircraft and helicopter fleets. We already produce a perfectly good utility helicopter in the Dhruv, but instead of bulk buying that and helping the local industry they continue to haggle over these useless wasps just because they have some outdated notions of Light Helicopter in their heads. The Chetak and Cheetah are from another era..why must they insist on duplicating that capability when an opportunity to UPGRADE exists!?

  7. LUH/RSH/LOH is necessary because all functions cant be done by ALH Dhruv.

    You need a helo in 3 ton category as much as a 5/6 ton and 10-12 ton ones. Dhruv is risky for Siachen.

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