Augmenting its fleet of multi role helicopters, the Navy is looking to procure more such choppers for carrying out anti-submarine warfare and Special Forces’ operations.
In a Request for Information (RFI) issued recently, the Navy has said it intends to procure new Naval Multi Role Helicopters (NMRH) for anti-submarine, anti-surface and Special Commando operations roles.
Interestingly, the Navy has shown its intent to procure these choppers at a time when it is already planning to start the trials for buying 16 MRHs from the two contenders Sikorsky S-70B and European NH-90 next month under a separate tender.Navy officials said that the earlier tender process will continue and the trials would be carried out as per the original schedule.
In its requirement for the next batch of helicopters, the navy stated that the basic chopper for performing all the specified roles should be same with common airframe, engines, avionics and it should be capable of changing roles with ease.
“The NMRH should be of contemporary design with modern, reliable and fuel efficient engines and fully integrated advanced avionics and weapons suite employing the latest concepts for detection, identification, classification of surface and subsurface targets along with the ability to detect air targets,” it said in the RFI document.
The Navy also wants the chopper to have the air to air refuelling capability for enhanced endurance and reach.
The vendors taking part in the contract will also be required to invest back at least 30 per cent of the worth of the contract as offsets into the Indian defence, civilian aerospace or the homeland security sectors.
Possible contenders for the deal include NH-90, Sikorsky and Lockheed martin’s MH-60 Romeo, which was not selected for the early tender as it was being offered through the Foreign Military Sales route.
The navy at present relies on its fleet of Sea King helicopters which were inducted in tow different phases in the 80s.