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India's Navy to spend $1 billion on Utility Helicopter, releases Requests for Proposal

India's Navy to spend $1 billion on Utility Helicopter, releases Requests for Proposal

The Indian Navy has sent requests for proposals (RFPs)  to all major rotorcraft vendors, including Bell Helicopter Textron, EADS’s Eurocopter, Finmeccanica’s AgustaWestland, Russian Helicopters and Sikorsky.

According to Aviation Week, the navy requires vendors to offer  twin-engine helicopters that can operate in adverse weather day/night conditions for SAR and conduct casualty evacuation and logistics and communication duties with under-slung cargo. Other tasks include limited electronic-intelligence gathering, ASW with a light torpedo or depth charge, dynamic response during aid to civil authorities, and anti-piracy missions with small arms.  India  wants to operate these utility  rotorcraft from small-deck frigates and offshore patrol vehicles, as well as from aircraft carriers.

The magazine reported that contenders include Eurocopter’s AS565 Panther, Sikorsky’s S-76B, and a maritime version of AgustaWestland’s AW109 Koala.The navy  wants a wheeled helicopter with an all-up weight that does not exceed 4.5 metric tons, powered by twin turboshaft engines with an electronic engine-control mechanism and be capable of deploying at least one lightweight ASW torpedo or two depth charges, with the ability to mount 12.7-mm machine guns or rocket launchers on either side.

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