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Bell backs out of IAF''s tender for 22 attack choppers

A File Photo of Bell Helicopter's AH-1Z Cobra

NEW DELHI (PTI): American aviation company Bell Helicopter has decided not to participate in the Indian Air Force's tender for acquiring 22 attack helicopters.

"We were planning to field our AH-1Z Cobra for IAF's Request for Proposal (RFP) but it is still undergoing operational evaluation for the US Marine Corps. So, we have decided not to participate in the competition," a Bell official said here.

"Our decision to not participate in the tender has been conveyed to the Indian Defence Ministry by US Embassy officials here," he added.

The RFP for acquiring the 22 combat helicopters was one of the first tenders to have been released in UPA government's second term in May this year.

This is the second time that Bell Helicopters has backed out from participating in the IAF's combat helicopter acquisition process.

In a similar RFP issued last year in June, Bell didn't participate citing its availability only through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) as the tender demanded the choppers to be sold through the Direct Commercial Sales route by participating American companies and not through the US government.

The RFP was scrapped in March this year on grounds that IAF's qualitative requirements could not be met and a fresh tender was issued in May 2009.

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