Monday, September 27, 2010

Bell Helicopter and Agusta Westland have withdrawn their bids for 197 ALH

American ‘Bell Helicopter’ and Italian ‘ Agusta Westland’ have withdrawn their bids for the 197 Advance Light Helicopters (ALH) being acquired for the Army for search and rescue operations. The $600 million deal, they have complained, is being processed in favour of the French-German combine ‘Eurocopter’. It is unusual for such global firms to withdraw from the race after two years of the tender ‘process’, alleging ‘bias’.

Augusta Westland, ironically, won the bid in February this year for supplying 12 choppers at a cost of Rs 3,546.17 crore, eight of which would be customised for VVIP transportation. They will replace the ageing Russian made MI-8 helicopters, which are close to completing their technical life. A representative of a firm lobbying for ‘Eurocopter’, however, quipped, “ after having failed to meet tough standards, it looks like just a case of sour grapes for our competitors.” The ‘Eurocopter group was created in 1992 with the merger between the helicopter divisions of ‘Aerospatiale-Matra’ (France) and ‘DaimlerChrysler Aerospace’ (Germany). 

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