NEW DELHI: In a bid to replace its fleet of utility helicopters that are over six decades old, the Ministry of Defence has issued an Expression of Interest (EoI) on Tuesday for shortlisting potential Indian strategic partners and foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) for procuring of 111 Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH) for the Indian Navy.
These helicopters will replace Chetak Helicopters which are utilised for Search And Rescue, Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC), Low-Intensity Maritime Operations, passenger roles and torpedo drops.
Under the arrangement, 95 of the 111 helicopters will be manufactured in India by the selected Indian partner. The case was approved in 2018. The project is likely to provide a major boost to Govt’s ‘Make in India’ initiative and fillip to manufacturing capability for helicopters in India.
The Request for EoI from Indian private companies for participating in the project has been hosted on the MoD/ Navy websites. However, the Request for EoI from foreign OEMs has been forwarded to companies that participated in the RFI deliberations. The OEMs have been mandated to set up dedicated manufacturing line, including design, integration and manufacturing processes for NUH in India and make Indian Manufacturing Line as a global exclusive facility for the NUH platform being offered.
The Indian companies have been given two months to respond to the EoI, the foreign OEMs have been given three months for responding. M/s Tata Advanced Systems Ltd, Mahindra Defence, Adani Defence, L&T, Bharat Forge and Reliance Infrastructure are the probable Indian companies that are likely to participate in the process.
The foreign OEMs likely to participate in the project are M/s Lockheed Martin, M/s Airbus Helicopters, M/s Bell Helicopters and M/s RoE.
The Request For Proposal for procurement is likely to be issued towards the second half of this year to the shortlisted Indian companies.