Sunday, April 3, 2011


India's navy has issued a request for information for at least 50 light utility helicopters to replace its fleet of Hindustan Aeronautics Chetaks.

The service is seeking a new fleet of twin-engines aircraft, with bidding companies to be required to undertake field evaluation trials in India. Interested vendors must also provide information on how they plan to comply with India's 30% offset rule, the navy says in its tender document.
 To meet its requirements, the selected light utility helicopter must have an all-up weight of not more than 4,500kg (9,920lb) and be capable of carrying at least one lightweight torpedo or two depth charges, the RFI says. There should also be a provision for mounting 12.7mm machine guns and/or a rocket launcher on either side of the aircraft.
 The helicopter must also be able to carry at least four passengers and come with rappelling equipment, rescue winches and be capable of carrying underslung loads.

Other roles for the new aircraft will include search and rescue, casualty evacuation, limited observation and surveillance and anti-submarine warfare tasks, as well as anti-piracy and anti-terrorism activities, the navy says.

The RFI document fails to provide a delivery timeline, but asks vendors to give the earliest schedule possible.

India's current Chetak design was licence-built by HAL, and is a version of the Eurocopter SA316B Alouette III. The aircraft has a maximum take-off weight of 2,200kg, according to HAL.

Flightglobal's HeliCAS database lists the navy as having an active inventory of 32 of the type.
Indian Navy is looking to acquire six to eight Medium-Range Surveillance Aircraft and High Altitude Long Range UAVs. Defence Ministry floated RFIs (request for information) for the surveillance aircrafts and UAVs newspaper reports indicated. Specifications for the Medium-Range Surveillance Aircraft require an operating range of over 350 nautical miles while the requirements for the UAV are service ceiling above 40,000 feet and endurance of over 25 hours.

These come in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attacks where Pakistan based terrorists used the sea route to reach Indian soil. India is also conducting a major upgrade for the Coast Guard.