National Defence Bureau,
New Delhi, 12 February 2019
In a first of its kind, Ministry of Defence has issued Expression of Interest (s) for shortlisting of potential Indian Strategic Partners and foreign OEMs for the ‘Procurement of 111 Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH) for the Indian Navy on 12 Feb 19. These helicopters will replace Chetak Helicopters and will be utilised for albeit SAR, CASEVAC, LIMO, passenger roles and torpedo drops. 95 helicopters out of 111 will be manufactured in India by the selected Indian Strategic Partner. The case was approved by DAC on 25 Aug 18. The project is likely to provide major boost to Govt’s ‘Make in India’ initiative and fillip to manufacturing capability for helicopters in India.
The Request for EoI from Indian private companies for participating in the project has been hosted on the MoD/Indian Navy website on 12 Feb 19. However, the Request for EoI from foreign OEMs has been forwarded to companies that participated in the RFI deliberations. The OEMs have been mandated to set up dedicated manufacturing line, including design, integration and manufacturing processes for NUH in India and make Indian Manufacturing Line as a global exclusive facility for the NUH platform being offered.
Whilst Indian companies have been given two months to respond to the EoI, the foreign OEMs have been given three months for responding due to the nature of inputs required. M/s Tata Advanced Systems Ltd, Mahindra Defence, Adani Defence, L&T, Bharat Forge and Reliance Infrastructure are the probable Indian companies that are likely to participate in the process. The Indian companies would be shortlisted based on their capability of system of system integration, facility in the aerospace domain and financial capability. The foreign OEMs likely to participate in the project are M/s Lockheed Martin, M/s Airbus Helicopters, M/s Bell Helicopters and M/s RoE. High level of indigenisation i.e about 60% of the helicopter is desired through the NUH project. The RFP for procurement is likely to be issued towards the end of third quarter of this year to the shortlisted Indian companies.
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 17 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.