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Light Utility Helicopter Competition Ties Foreign, Indian players

Light Utility Helicopter Competition Ties Foreign, Indian players

In India’s first helicopter competition reserved for domestic defense companies to produce a light utility helicopter (LUH), Larsen & Toubro has teamed up with Airbus Helicopters; Tata Advanced Systems with Sikorsky Aircraft; Mahindra Defense Systems with Bell Helicopter; and Punj Lloyd with Russian Helicopters. State-owned Hindustan Aeronautics also is negotiating a tie up with Russian Helicopters.

When the Modi government came to power in May 2014, it canceled a 2009 global re-tender to purchase 197 LUHs and instead issued the RFI only to domestic defense majors as part its policy to build domestic industry capabilities.

The domestic companies were required to respond by February 17 to a request for information (RFI) they received last October to provide the helicopters on a “Buy and Make” (India) basis in the $2.5 billion tender.

DefenseNews reports that the RFI describes purchase of 197 LUHs — 133 for the Army and 64 for the Air Force — though an air force official said that India required more than 400 light utility helicopters.

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