In one of the biggest global tenders for helicopters issued recently, a Request for Information (RfI) was issued by the ministry of defence for over 200 helicopters for Indian Navy under the new strategic partnership (SP) model. The RFI has been sent to several companies including US based Bell Helicopters, Sikorsky (which has been acquired by Lockheed Martin) and Airbus of Europe for 111 Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH) and 123 Naval Multi-role Helicopters (NMRH), with anti-submarine warfare capabilities. The companies have to respond by October 6, 2017. According to the RfI, both tenders were under the SP model that was recently approved by the government under the Defence Procurement Procedure-2016. Both will be global tenders for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM). The SP model envisages the establishment of long-term strategic partnerships with qualified Indian industry majors, wherein the Indian industry partners would tie up with global original equipment manufacturers, to seek technology transfer and manufacturing know-how to set up domestic manufacturing infrastructure and supply chains in defence manufacturing. As reported by FE earlier, four sectors have been finalised for the model — fighter aircraft, helicopters, submarines and armoured fighting vehicles and main battle tanks. The proposals for the NUH and NMRH were pending for long as the finalisation of Strategic Partnership model took long. The Naval Utility Helicopters will replace the aging fleet of Chetak helicopters. The Indian Navy has been facing a shortage of helicopters, and requires the Multi-Role Helicopters for deployment on its warships.
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