The Indian Navy is planning to purchase more than 75 choppers at an estimated cost of over $4 billion to meet the demand of it’s expanding area of operations. This tender is one of the world’s largest tenders for multirole helicopters.
The Indian Navy had recently asked global helicopter manufacturers to provide details about naval multi-role helicopters and is planning to soon issue a global Request for Proposal (RFP) to procure these helicopters very soon.
The Indian Navy has estimated that it would require more than 75 Naval Multi-role Helicopters (NMRH) and this would be world’s largest tender for multi-role helicopters. This was confirmed by US defence major Lockheed Martin’s vice president for Ship and Aviation Systems George Barton.
The Indian navy will use these helicopters for carrying out anti-submarine warfare, Special Forces’ operations and anti-surface warfare. The US Navy is the largest operator of multi-role helicopters and it operates over 350 MH-60 variants.
The Indian Navy is already holding a competition for procuring 16 multirole helicopters in which European NH-90 and American Sikorsky S-70 Bravo are in the race.
The Indian Navy at present relies on it’s fleet of Sea King helicopters which were inducted in two different phases in the 1980’s.
In view of the navy’s expanding fleet size and expansion in it’s area of responsibility with the government stating that country’s strategic interest ranges from the Gulf of Aden to the Malacca Straits, the Navy would urgently require to induct these multi-role naval choppers.
The Indian Army and the Air Force have also issued a tender for procuring 197 light utility helicopters. But the deal of the purchasing 75 naval choppers is expected to be much more than that as they would be equipped with complex machinery and weapon systems.