Indian Navy to seek global bids for upgrading choppers

June 9th, 2008 - 10:53 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 9 (IANS) India will soon float a global tender for the mid-life refurbishment of its fleet of Sea King and Kamov-28 helicopters, an official said Monday. The deal is valued at $150 million. “We will soon be issuing the RFPs (Request for Proposals) for the mid-life upgrade of the Sea King and Kamov-28 helicopters,” the official said.

“The refurbishment will involve replacing the engine, the avionics, the mission computer, the radar system and missiles,” the official added.

The navy operates 14 Sea King and 12 Kamov anti-submarine helicopters. In addition, the Sea Kings are also used for reconnaissance, search and rescue operations, and for ferrying personnel and supplies.

The Indian Navy bought the Sea Kings from Britain’s Westland Helicopters in the late 1980s but found it difficult to operate them in the wake of the sanctions imposed by the US after the Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998 as these prevented the sourcing of original parts from the manufacturer.

The Indian Navy then attempted to obtain from local industry components for gearboxes, rotor systems, sonar systems and electronics items for avionics. However, these fell short of reliability requirements and led to some limitations in the machine’s anti-submarine warfare operations.

While this problem did not exist in the case of the Russian-origin Kamovs, these machines are also due for a mid-life upgrade.

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