The Indian Ministry of Defence has issued Expression of Interest (s) for shortlisting of potential Indian Strategic Partners and foreign OEMs for the ‘Procurement of 111 Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH) for the Indian Navy on 12 Feb 19. These helicopters will replace Chetak Helicopters and will be utilised for albeit SAR, CASEVAC, LIMO, passenger roles and torpedo drops. 95 helicopters out of 111 will be manufactured in India by the selected Indian Strategic Partner. The case was approved by DAC on 25 Aug 18. The project is likely to provide major boost to Govt’s ‘Make in India’ initiative and fillip to manufacturing capability for helicopters in India.
The Request for EoI from Indian private companies for participating in the project has been hosted on the MoD/Indian Navy website on 12 Feb 19. However, the Request for EoI from foreign OEMs has been forwarded to companies that participated in the RFI deliberations. The OEMs have been mandated to set up dedicated manufacturing line, including design, integration and manufacturing processes for NUH in India and make Indian Manufacturing Line as a global exclusive facility for the NUH platform being offered. Whilst Indian companies have been given two months to respond to the EoI, the foreign OEMs have been given three months for responding due to the nature of inputs required. High level of indigenisation i.e about 60% of the helicopter is desired through the NUH project.
India invited expressions of interest for 111 helicopters to be made in the country in collaboration with foreign partners, the defence ministry said, in a deal estimated at nearly $3 billion. Lockheed Martin, Airbus Helicopters and Bell Helicopters are among those expected to participate in the bidding, the ministry statement said, to replace the navy’s ageing Soviet-era helicopters. The Indian companies likely to participate in the bidding are Tata Advanced Systems, Mahindra Defence, Adani Defence, L&T, Bharat Forge and Reliance Infrastructure, the defence ministry said. India has been trying to modernise its military to narrow the gap with China but defence expenditure has been largely stagnant, making for slow procurement.