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Indian Navy floats tender for buying 56 choppers

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NEW DELHI (PTI): A global tender has been floated by the Indian Navy for procuring 56 Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) which are expected to cost over Rs 4,000 crore and will replace the fleet of its vintage Cheetah and Chetak choppers.

The Navy has issued the tender for light choppers after the Army and the IAF reached advanced stages of the process for procuring 197 LUHs for which Europe's Eurocopter and Russia's Kamov are in the race.

The tender for procuring 56 twin-engine Naval Utility Helicopters was issued earlier this week. It has been sent to major chopper makers including US firm Sikorsky, Eurocopter, Kamov and Italy's AgustaWestland, Navy officials told PTI here.

The Navy has demanded that the helicopters should be capable of carrying out anti-submarine warfare (ASW) role and should be equipped with torpedoes and depth charges.

In the tender, the Navy has specified that the 4.5 tonne helicopters should have twin-engines to allow them to operate in rough sea conditions.

The Navy is also planning to use the chopper for its anti-piracy and anti-terrorism operations.

The request for information (RFI) for this chopper procurement has been issued twice. First was issued in late 2010 and the second was done in March last year.

The helicopters will be used for both shore-based and offshore operations and the Navy has specified they should be capable of operating from ship decks in adverse weather conditions during day and night. The choppers should be able to operate from snow-covered surface, sleet, sand, water and slush.

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