Flash! Boeing's Chinook Wins Indian Heavy Copter Fight

Another one in the bag for Boeing. Reports today suggest that Boeing's CH-47F Chinook has beaten Russia's Mi-26T2 to meet an Indian Air Force requirement for 15 heavy-lift multirole helicopters. The Chinook has emerged the more competitively priced of the two helicopters following scrutiny of commercial bids that were opened late September.

While Boeing had exuded confidence about winning the IAF's attack helicopter deal -- which it did with the AH-64D Apache Block III, since the Russian Mi-28N had failed to meet requirements in field trials -- the heavy copter competition was more tricky, since both the Chinook and Mi-26 had been found compliant, and passed trials. In fact, earlier this month, Rosoboronexport had issued a statement to say, "Rosoboronexport offers the unique Mi-26T2 helicopter world-famous for its lifting capacity. As is known, Russian Mi-26s flew many transport missions in Afghanistan on evacuation of downed or failed Chinook helicopters. Russian pilots were commended by the US President for one such mission performed in 2009."

That the American machine beat the Russian one, at least apparently, on price is interesting. Commercial negotiations with Boeing are expected to commence shortly.

Boeing's director for rotorcraft business development Mark Ballew is quoted to have said on October 24 that the company expected the Indian contract to be signed next year, which sounds about right.

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