The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued Expression of Interest(s), on Feb. 12, for shortlisting of potential Indian Strategic Partners and foreign OEMs for the ‘Procurement of 111 Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH) for the Indian Navy.
The helicopters will replace Chetak Helicopters and will be utilised for Search and Rescue (SAR), Casualty evacuation (CASEVAC), Low Intensity Maritime Operations (LIMO), passenger transport roles and torpedo drop missions.
The procurement of NUH, worth over Rs. 21,000 crores (~USD 3 billion), was approved by India’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) on Aug. 25, 2018. As part of the proposal, 16 helicopters will be procured in fly away condition from the selected foreign Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and the remaining 95 will be manufactured in India by the selected Indian Strategic Partner.
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 Feb. 12. 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. The RFP for procurement is likely to be issued towards the end of third quarter of this year to the shortlisted Indian companies.
The Indian Navy is in dire need of helicopters as the majority of its 140 warships are operating without utility helicopters.