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India Seeks 18 More Choppers, Will Buy 40 BAE Trainer Jets

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  • India Seeks 18 More Choppers, Will Buy 40 BAE Trainer Jets

    India Seeks 18 More Choppers, Will Buy 40 BAE Trainer Jets

    NEW DELHI — India will invite international bids to supply 312 light military helicopters and plans to acquire 18 more choppers in a separate global tender, air force chief Fali Major announced on Feb. 6.
    “The Indian air force plans to acquire two more squadrons (12 units) of attack helicopters and a squadron (six) of heavy-lift choppers,” Air Chief Marshal Major told reporters in New Delhi. “Along with the attack and the heavy-lift helicopters, a global tender would be floated jointly with the army within three months to acquire 312 multirole light helicopters,” Major said.
    Earlier Feb. 6, other officials said the air force planned to buy 40 Hawk trainer jets for its air force from BAE, in addition to 66 purchased for $1.45 billion in 2004.
    “The deal [for the 40 trainers] is now as good as done,” a senior air force commander told AFP on condition of anonymity.
    Other military officers said the Indian navy has separately demanded another 17 BAE trainers and the two proposals could be converted into a single contract.
    “At 850 million rupees [$21.8 million dollars] apiece, the tender for the air force alone will be $872 million,” the air force official said.
    Formal clearance for the acquisition of the new 40 trainer jets is expected later this month, air force officials in New Delhi said.
    In December, India scrapped a $600 million deal for 197 helicopters with Eurocopter, the helicopter unit of EADS, after accusing it of “deviating” from the contract.
    Earlier this month, the air force added its requirement of 115 helicopters to the 197 units the army wanted, pushing the value of the deal to $1 billion and the number of aircraft to 312.
    “The addition of the two squadrons of attack gunships and the six heavy-lift choppers will now push the combined worth to 1.4 billion dollars,” a senior defense ministry official said on condition that he was not named.
    The cancelation of the Eurocopter deal caused dismay in India’s military establishment, as the services need modern helicopters for high-altitude missions in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.
    “The new helicopters will now offer us the capability to operate in day-and-night conditions, as well as at very high altitudes,” the air force official added.
    The new choppers will replace the vintage fleet of French- and Russian-built helicopters India bought in the 1960s.
    Last week, India contacted four aviation firms in France, Italy, Russia and the U.S., asking about their ability to supply the 312 helicopters for the armed forces on an “urgent” basis.
    Also this month, the air force approved a billion-dollar purchase of six transport planes from U.S.-based aviation giant Lockheed Martin and is likely to hand out a two-billion-dollar contract for eight naval planes to Seattle-based Boeing.
    India, which also invited tenders last year for 126 fighter jets worth $10 billion, has emerged as one of the biggest buyers of military equipment among developing countries.
    Since 1999, India’s military purchases have been worth $25 billion and it is likely to spend another $30 billion by 2012, according to defense experts.

    More with extra info on the final number of additional units

    OURCE:Flight International
    India seeks extra Hawks
    By Siva Govindasamy

    India plans to buy a further 57 BAE Systems Hawk advanced jet trainers for its air force and navy, adding to the 66 it ordered in 2004. The aircraft will be licence-produced by Hindustan Aeronautics, which is manufacturing 42 aircraft from the original order.

    "The Cabinet committee for security affairs will be asked to clear the deal, and it should be completed in a few months," says a source close to the defence ministry. The Indian air force requires 40 Hawks from the second order and the navy 17. The deal is expected to be worth about $870 million, with deliveries slated to begin early next decade.

    india hawk

    India's proposed new purchase of Hawk will add 66 examples it ordered in 2004

    New Delhi will induct its first BAE-built Hawk in a ceremony later this month, and the first HAL-manufactured aircraft will be delivered in March. India inked the $1.75 billion, 66-aircraft order under a deal that took almost 20 years to complete. BAE on 4 February conducted the first flight of India's 22nd of 24 UK-built aircraft - the first Hawk ever to make its debut sortie from the company's manufacturing site in Brough, Yorkshire.

    Sources close to HAL say talks between the company and BAE over a possible shift of all Hawk production to India are also continuing. "Discussions are still at the early stages. The companies are talking about forming a joint venture, and it makes sense for HAL, given that it has already invested heavily in facilities for manufacturing the Hawk," says one.

    Separately, Washington and New Delhi have confirmed a $1 billion deal for six Lockheed Martin C-130J tactical transports intended for India's special forces. US deputy assistant secretary of defense James Clad told Reuters: "This puts us in a new environment. With this sale, India is telling us it's ready to buy top-quality US equipment on its merits. It positions us to be in the Indian defence market for years to come."

    The deals are part of a lengthy effort to rejuvenate the Indian armed forces. New Delhi has also issued a request for information to AgustaWestland, Bell Helicopter, Eurocopter and Kamov for 300 utility helicopters for its air force and army. An earlier army competition for 197 helicopters was cancelled last December as it was about to be awarded to Eurocopter, which denies allegations of irregularities in the tender process.

    India is also evaluating the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed F-16, Saab Gripen and Sukhoi Su-35 for a requirement for 126 medium multirole combat aircraft. It is also looking for new maritime patrol aircraft, plus heavy-lift and attack helicopters.
    Last edited by uy707; 2008-02-11, 16:15.
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