Thursday, April 02, 2015

Third Time Lucky? Five-way Indian Light Copter Contest Begins

India's tragicomic efforts to buy new light reconnaissance and surveillance helicopters (RSH) for the Indian Army and IAF, aborted last year for the second time in over a decade, has officially begun again. With the deadline for interest ending on March 31, five platforms will now prospectively compete for an unspecified (but known to be nearly 400) number of helicopters, all of which will have to be made in India by a winning Indian partner.

Livefist can confirm that the MoD has received more than ten responses to its request for information that expired on March 31. And yes, that's multiple bids per platform on five different helicopters, as follows in no particular order:
  1. Airbus AS550 C3 Fennec
  2. Kamov Ka-226T Sergei
  3. Bell 407GT
  4. AgustaWestland AW119
  5. HAL Light Utility Helicopter
An RfP to kickstart the contest is expected to be out later this year. Two rounds of Q&A between MoD/Army/IAF acquisition managers between October 2014 and March 2015 have narrowed down the broad requirements (and several prevailing blanks) in the RFI. The RfP will, hopefully, hammer things down further. Several points of interest in the composition of the new competition:
  1. Bell Helicopter returns to the contest after sitting out the last attempt (they decided not to bid then because of the offsets requirements).
  2. AgustaWestland has responses in through two Indian firms for the militarised AW119 Koala.
  3. HAL has also expressed interest in the contest. With its Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) expected to make its first flight in August, the company has decided to throw its hat in the ring for good measure.
This hardly needs saying anymore on Indian helo procurement: Expect a lot of downwash before things really get going.

21 comments :

Anonymous said...

Other than the Ka-226T and HAL-LUH (yet to materialize) none of the other contenders would meet the maximum operational altitude ceiling of around 15,000 Ft. I expect pretty much all others to drop out at some point once the RFP is announced.

Anonymous said...

Going by the Trolls on this Site, Some future Predictions:-

a) Three years hence this acquisition will still be in Limbo

b) The very requirement of these aircraft will be questioned vigourously after calibrated leaks to hit the credibility of the evaluation process
c) veiled and not so veiled comments Pro- DRDO HAL and anti- Services will start

c) most comments will display that the commenter will not know his Arse from his elbow

d) If god forbid HAL is selected as the Indian partner, a minimum of 20-30 crashes of HAL made aircraft will happen due to quality related issues, which will somehow magically be spun to become the IA/ IAF's fault

e) Each losing competitor will try his best to scuttle the deal in innovative ways

f) When the actual need arises for these aircraft to be used in Battle/rescue, nothing will be there on ground as the older ones will not be airworthy and the newer ones will not have been purchased. Basically "Babaji ka Thullu"

g) Whoever wins the PSU lobby will claim that IAF tried to derail it, and will promptly demand thousands of crores to develop a competitive product (which will never ever come out)

Koi shaq?

Anonymous said...

Its already decided that HAL will win. Retender is just an eyewash.

Raahul Kumar said...

I see no reason for all of these companies to be in the running. Just give it to HAL alone, no need for imports.

HAL has done a great job with helicopters, and now the only issue is to make sure that HAL cracks down on making the helicopter engine in Bharat instead of a joint venture with Turbomeca.

All of the parts of the helicopter must be made in desh, not videsh.

http://www.turbomeca.com/english/our-products/helicopter-engines/ardiden-47/ardiden-1h1-26.html

Anonymous said...

The Americans will win, initial order will be 140 helicopters then HAL will start crying over this decision and then the MoD will order another 50 American helicopters and 200 HAL LUH. Then the IAF will resist this and say only one type of helo is needed and that the LUH will take a lot of time to be fully ready. This remind anyone of anything? -_-

Jean Luc Picard said...

Per my understanding, the IAF, IA and IN are happy with the new ALH Druv.

So i will not discount the HAL in this tender (of course they have a prototype performs and does all it claims)

However, The real source of hesitation the Army and to the extent the air Force is not from the design or the prototype.

The problem is HAL will make a great prototype, but when it goes to Manufacturing at various PSUs and ordnance factories for manufacture of sub components. the quality of components drop these PSUs need to be brought to task their infrastructure revamped and the workforce be shaken out of "sarkari" culture.

Often times we blame the DRDO or HAL but the actual culprit is OFB or some other manufacturing PSU.

DRDO and HAL are largely R and D organizations.

Private players must be included in manufacturing contracts. While R and D and prototypes can be a DRDO driven.




Anonymous said...

AS550 fennec is operated by Pakistan ? Will be interesting if it is selected.

Anonymous said...

"Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar recently also took dig at Armed forces for coming up with Ridiculous General Staff Qualitative Requirement (GSQR) for indigenous weapons systems which he said seems right out of ” Marvel comic Movies “, clearly hinting that Technologies requested in Indigenous weapons systems sometimes purely is absurd and not realistic in nature . He also has told DRDO not to entertain any last minute changes in GSQR henceforward".

Finally India has a defence minsiter who can stand up to the tantrums of the service chiefs and their lackeys. At the same time he won't hesitate to break a stick on the backs of the PSU babus for under performance. An even sided approach that will save the day for the nation !

Hanonymous said...

There are two choices. As in life, one is easier than the other but the tough choice may lead to a much better place than the first choice.

we can push LUH all the way, or not.

It's that simple. Actually.

No machine was created perfect.

They were made better. Over time. And effort and attention.

That's the whole point. Should we push for LUH or not !

Anonymous said...

When HAL is nearly ready with it's LUH, why all this tamasha?? Does "Make in India" mean screwing up "Made in India"? How will we gain capabilities and confidence if kickback addicted top brass and politicians do not support indigenous efforts??

SK said...

@jean luc picard

Indian Navy's twin engine helicopter tender (buy and make) for 100 helos is worth USD $1.5 billion. This helo will be able to lift 6-7 people at max.

But GoI is purchasing HAL Dhruv at 7-8 million per unit. This helo can lift 10-12 people and has two engines as well.

Then, what is the reason for USD $ 15 million for a twin engine light naval helo? can anyone explain?

Thanks

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 8:44
The revered DRDO boss was also removed by selfsame RM. Dont forget. DRDO was warned openly by Shri Modi as well.

Do not twist news unnecessarily to highlight your viewpoint and belittle others. Behave responsibly.

Let bad GSQRS be rejected / sent back / Amended. This does not absolve DRDO PSUs from poor quality and delays, which they have been trying hard to project so as to avoid criticism. Its just a CYA exercise for the Bosses

Remember Service cheifs have resigned in the Past, no DRDO chief or any level has ever taken responsibility for any failures in this country's history. Yet it has never produced anything in time or to required quality. The irony is stark.

LUH ; very good; how much indigenous content? Engines ? No, Avionics? No,
MGB& Rotors? No, then why LUH?

Lets pitch for real indigenisation and real accountability. Jobs at stake if not truly indigenous and poor quality / Late. Heads to roll

Not this fake assembled kit technology copied from JVs without real ToT, small scale indigenisation of insignificant components etc etc.

A time-bound and strictly enforced manufacturing programmme with in-built penalties and safeguards

Heads to roll for each delay without fail

Anonymous said...

@ hanonymous 3:57
No.

Anonymous said...

Order LUH, and get into a JV with the US for MV-22B Osprey as that is the way forward.

Abhiman said...

The USAF does not invite global tenders, if indigenous products are available.

Russian Air Force does not invite global tenders, if indigenous products are available.

Israeli Air Force does not invite global tenders, if indigenous products are available.

So, why does the IAF have to invite global tenders when an indigenous LUH is available ? This is near criminal behavior.

Jean Luc Pickard, for once you've said something sensible. I've been saying this since a few years now. In fact, HAL is more of a manufacturer than an R&D organization, save for IJT Sitara and Dhruv. Tejas' production lines should be distributed to the private sector, instead of being singularly allocated to HAL.

Anonymous said...

@Abhiman

Nation's defense cannot become a money making enterprise by shady businessmen. If they are interested to make money out of defense, they need to come up with their own stuff and enter into competition with MNCs and DPSUs.

And yes, it's abominable that we are looking for foreign stuff when cheaper indigenous products are available.

Hanonymous said...

@ Anonymous 6:58 pm.

No ?

No what ?

No luh ?

Anonymous said...

I am surprised that people who do not know anything about HAL tries to defame it.Given the constraints put up by greedy armed forces HAL is doing an admirable job.

Anonymous said...

I see utter insanity when India goes for foreign vendors. Why do they go in piece meal approach. The most efficient policy should be
1) Get the consolidated requirements for helicopters transport/combat/utility from all 3 services
2) List out technologies and also leverages from one platform to other platform. This way when we buy one platform and systems , some of it should be adapted to other platforms
3) A case of this stupid policy when we procured pilatus trainer a/c. we should have identified vendor who can support us to transition basic trainer to ijt.
Now we don't have ijt and goe to different vendor for ijt.
4) An ideal procurement policy should be patterned similar to Russian ARMATA tank program which
has common chassis build for different vehicles.
5) After the selection of helicopter vendor set up manufacturing base for supplying to all 3 services and also for export

satya said...

I see utter insanity when India goes for foreign vendors. Why do they go in piece meal approach. The most efficient policy should be
1) Get the consolidated requirements for helicopters transport/combat/utility from all 3 services
2) List out technologies and also leverages from one platform to other platform. This way when we buy one platform and systems , some of it should be adapted to other platforms
3) A case of this stupid policy when we procured pilatus trainer a/c. we should have identified vendor who can support us to transition basic trainer to ijt.
Now we don't have ijt and goe to different vendor for ijt.
4) An ideal procurement policy should be patterned similar to Russian ARMATA tank program which
has common chassis build for different vehicles.
5) After the selection of helicopter vendor set up manufacturing base for supplying to all 3 services and also for export

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