Monday, August 17, 2009

Boeing to bid on Indias programs to purchase combat helicopters andheavy-lift helicopters

Boeing has decided to bid on Indias programs to purchase 22 combat helicopters and 15 heavy-lift helicopters.Proposals for the combat helicopters are due Sept. 22, and the deadline for the heavy-lift helicopters is the next day.

This is the second time India has issued a tender for attack helicopters. The first tender issued in May 2008 was scrapped in March by the government. Neither Bell Helicopter nor Boeing participated in that effort. Bell has said it will not participate in the new competition.

Meanwhile, the way is now clear for the implementation of the $2.1 billion contract for India to buy eight Boeing P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft. The technical assistance agreement for the contract has now been worked out, according to Vivek Lall, head of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems in India.

We are looking forward to delivering them, Lall said.

The contract for eight P-8I aircraft was signed on Jan. 1. Following the recent visit of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton here, the controversial defense technology end-use monitoring agreement between India and the U.S. has been finalized as well, making the going smoother.

The end-user monitoring (EUM) accord systematizes ad hoc arrangements for individual defense procurements from the U.S. entered into by previous governments. The agreement will make it easier to share important U.S. defense technology with India, Boeing said in a statement.

Beyond the immediate affect of allowing greater cooperation between the two sides, the EUM accord indicates a high level of trust and cooperation between the U.S. and India, according to Ron Somers, president of the U.S.-India Business Council.

Boeing says it also is keen to offer India the C-17, which can carry large equipment, supplies and troops directly to small airfields. The C-17 fits in well with Indias operational requirements, Lall says. The U.S. government received a request for information in 2008.

A senior Indian air force official was quoted recently saying that the aircraft had been chosen after a thorough study because of its range, ease of operation and capability to take off and land on short runways with heavy loads. The Indian air force is said to be looking at acquiring ten C-17s, initially through the U.S. governments Foreign Military Sales route

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