Nov 10, 2014
India opts for Seahawk in navy's MRH tender
The decision follows a 'partial ban' imposed on Finmeccanica after the AW101 corruption scandal
India has chosen Sikorsky's S-70B Seahawk over the NH Industries (NHI) NH90 helicopter to fulfill the Indian Navy's (IN's) long-pending Multi-Role Helicopter (MRH) programme.
The NH90 had been excluded from the bidding process because of its commercial links with Italian defence conglomerate Finmeccanica, which the MoD 'partially banned' from new tenders in July.
This limited proscription followed the 1 January termination of the contract for 12 AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters for the Indian Air Force (IAF) on alleged corruption charges that remain under investigation in India. Finmeccanica has denied any wrongdoing in the case.
Under this partial ban Finmeccanica and its subsidiaries or joint ventures are permitted to participate in ongoing defence contracts that were at an advanced stage of negotiation, but are prohibited from joining new tenders. NHI is 32% owned by AgustaWestland.
Only Sikorsky's MRH commercial bid, submitted in 2009-10 along with NHI's, will now be opened by the MoD later this month for a requirement pending since 2007-08. Thereafter, price negotiations for 16 platforms will be opened.
The S-70B ,under the terms of the tender, it will be customised for amphibious assault operations and replace the navy's ageing fleet of Sea King.
Field trials featuring the NH90 and the S-70B were completed in 2011.