|Eruocopter AS565 MB Naval Panther, a military variant of the Dauphin, is a likely contender for the IN's Naval Utility Helicopter project. Photo Credit: Eurocopter|
The NUHs will replace the ageing Chetak helicopters in service with the IN and be used for
- Search and Rescue.
- Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC).
- Communication Duties.
- Anti-Piracy and Anti-terrorism.
- Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR).
- Limited Maritime Reconnaissance and Targeting.
The NUH would be procured along with Full Mission Simulators and other associated support equipment.
It may be recalled that on August 7, 2012 MoD had invited tenders 56 Naval Utility Helicopters to replace its fleet of ageing Chetak helicopters.
The RFP was issued to several major helicopter, firms including AgustaWestland, Bell Helicopter, Eurocopter and Russian Helicopters.
Two companies responded to the RFP - Eurocopter AS565 MB Naval Panther, a military variant of the popular Dauphin, and the AgustaWestland AW139.
The earlier procurement has now been halted, with the MoD opting for a fresh round of tendering under the category of 'Buy & Make (Indian)' as stipulated at Para 4(c) and 25 (a) of Chapter I of DPP-2013.
The Buy and Make (India) category involves initial off the shelf purchase from an Indian vendor (including an Indian company forming joint venture/ establishing production arrangement with OEM), followed by licensed production/ indigenous manufacture in the country.
Items supplied off the shelf under the category may not have any indigenous components, but locally manufactured systems are required to have minimum 30% indigenous content on cost basis to begin with, and eventually 50% indigenous content. (Indigenous content in the total of (i) Basic Cost of Equipment; (ii) Cost of Manufacturers’ Recommended List of Spares; and (iii) Cost of Special Maintenance Tools and Special Test Equipment must be at least 50% of the total contract value. (Reference parts 1(a), 1(c) and 1(d) of “Commercial Offer”, Appendix G to Schedule I of DPP 2013)
The NUH is required to be twin-engined with wheeled landing gear and folding rotor blades. It should be capable of operating from ship and ashore and be able to carry weapons in support of its maritime surveillance and targeting capability.
Earlier, HAL expressed its inability to bid against the requirement citing challenges in modifying its Dhruv to feature folding rotor blades.
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