Thursday, October 21, 2010

Eurocopter Hopes to Win Tender for 197 Light Utility Helicopters for IA and IAF

Global helicopter manufacturer Eurocopter today said it has successfully performed in the trials for supplying 197 Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) to the Indian Army and the Air Force. "We have passed all the trials so far and our company is still in race and we remain committed to it (the deal)," Eurocopter''s senior Vice President Joseph Saporito said. He was speaking to reporters here after the launch of Eurocopter''s Indian subsidiary. Eurocopter and Russian Kamov are the two companies in the race for the deal.

Asked to comment on reports suggesting the possibility of the tender being scrapped again after one of the companies raised questions over its elimination, Saporito said, "It is not possible for us to comment because we respect the confidentiality clauses of the tender and wish that others would respect them as well." The deal was scrapped earlier in December 2007 at the last moment when Defence Ministry was in the final stages of finalising the price of the choppers.

Recent reports suggested that Italian defence major AgustaWestland has written a letter to the Defence Ministry questioning its elimination from the competition. Eurocpoter''s new India-head Marie Anges Veve said on the occasion that the company was committed to supporting the Indian armed forces as it did in the case of the French-origin Cheetah and Chetak fleet. Of the 197 LUHs, 135 would go to the Army and the rest to the Air Force. HAL is also developing a similar class of choppers and is looking for global partners for design, development and manufacturing of the helicopters.PTI

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