Boeing has announced its submission of proposals for supplying attack and heavy-lift helicopter to the Indian Air Force (IAF), offering the AH-64D Apache and the CH-47F Chinook. India is planning to buy 22 attack helicopters and 15 transport helicopters.
“Boeing believes the Apache and Chinook helicopters are the most capable and cost-effective rotorcraft to meet India’s defense and transport requirements,” said Dr. Vivek Lall, vice president and India country head for Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. “The Apache will be a capable and lethal defender of India’s troops and assets, while the Chinook will answer many of the country’s military and humanitarian needs.”
Earlier this year, the Indian government had canceled the tender process for the attack helicopter deal. At that time, Boeing and Bell had not submitted bids for the AH-64D Apache and AH-1Z Super Cobra, respectively. According to some reports, Boeing had requested additional time to submit their bid, which was denied, while Bell withdrew from the process since their helicopter would be available only under the Foreign Military Sale regime of the United States government. The Indian government insisted on a direct purchase from the company.
The three contenders submitting proposals, AgustaWestland’s AW-129, EADS Eurocopter’s Tiger and Kamov’s Ka-50, were said to have failed to match the Staff Qualitative Requirements (SQRs) for the order, estimated to be worth US $ 550 million. Other possibles like the Russian Mi-35, the export version of the Mi-28, and Sikorsky’s Blackhawk too were absent from the process. Indications are that the latter will be in the new race.
Besides the Chinook, the contenders for the heavy-lift helicopters are the Russian Mi-26 and Sikorsky’s CH-53 Super Stallion.
If selected, Boeing says it will build the Apache helicopters at its rotorcraft facility in Mesa, Arizona, and the Chinook helicopters at its rotorcraft center in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania. There is no indication yet of any schedule for production or delivery.