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India cancels $550 million attack helicopter tender

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Source: DEFPRO

 

 

New tender gives Boeing's AH-64D Apache a second chance.

 

 

09:31 GMT, March 25, 2009 defpro.com | The Indian Ministry of Defence yesterday confirmed the rumors that it has scraped the tender for 22 attack helicopters. According to the Indian Defence Ministry spokesman the tender had to be canceled since the remaining three companies still participating in the tender were unable to meet the military’s requirement.

 

"The Request for Proposals (RFP) for the 22 attack helicopters have been retracted and cancelled, as the three offers received from foreign defence companies did not meet the Staff Qualitative Requirements set by the government,” the spokesman said.

 

In May 2008, New Delhi has begun a competition to procure 22 attack helicopters for its air force. The aircraft are intended to replace the ageing Mil Mi-25 and Mi-35 fleets.

 

India requested a 2.5 tonne twin-engined copter with all-weather and terrain ability. The new copter should also be highly manoeuvrable and able to deploy 20mm turret guns, rockets, air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles. The new attack helicopter should also be able to employ air-to-ground, fire-and-forget missiles with a range of at least seven kilometers. Beyond that it should be equipped with anti-armour capabilities and be capable of operating at high altitudes such as in the Kashmir's mountain borders with Pakistan with day-and-night operations capabilities.

 

With a unit price of $25 million (including armament and equipment), the first two helicopters were intended to be delivered within two years after contract signing with the final copter delivered within 36 months.

 

Initially seven companies participated the tender with their products: AgustaWestland’s AW129, Bell’s AH-1Z SuperCobra, Boeing’s AH-64D Apache Longbow, Eurocopter’s Tiger HAD, Kamov’s Ka-50, Mil’s Mi-28 NE and the national Hindustan Aeronautics’s Light Combat Helicopter. However, at the final stage only three companies (AgustaWestland, Eurocopter and Mil) left over while the US companies as quit the race.

 

Bell, a unit of Textron withdrew its participation since the AH-1Z Cobra is not in production anymore and thus only available through government-to-government Foreign Military Sales (FMS) deals based on the conversion of existing airframes.

 

Boeing decided to refuse to submit a proposal for the Apache since their request for an eight-week extension to the last August deadline has not been heeded. The extension was needed to submit a proposal which meets all the requirements of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

 

The MoD spokesman said that a new tender will be announced soon since the air force aims to modernising the service by the middle of the next decade. However the IAF’s plans to begin with the deployment of the new attack helicopters by 2010 could now be delayed.

 

Other tenders such as the $1.5 billion tender for 384 light utility helicopters are not affected by this cancelation. The attack helicopters are only one part of New Delhi’s overall plan to replace the military helicopter fleet for combat, reconnaissance and surveillance, and naval missions. The entire demand is estimated to be around 400 to 500 aircraft.

 

As it is often the case with the ups and downs of Indian defence procurement, the MoD’s announcement has left observers and analysts completely mystified and unable to formulate a logical explanation.

 

For the Indian MoD to maintain that the three combat helicopters in the final shortlist do not meet their qualitative requirements would effectively imply that these requirements were either unrealistic, or rather tailored for a specific model that however did not made it to the shortlist. Indeed, the only in-service helicopter-launched missile in the world that would offer a range of at least 7km with a fire-and-forget mode is the AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire that equips the AH-64D Longbow Apache. Thus, an educated guess would be that the Indian military was not very happy with the AH-64D having fallen out of the competition. The move to cancel the ongoing process and announce a renewed procurement effort in the near future is clearly intended to offer Boeing a second chance, and the outcome of any new “competition” is already clear.

 

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More or less shows how interested the Indians were/are in the Longbow. Would be fantastic to see Indian Army Longbows in some sort of interesting camo. The Apache's with new engines have good high altitude capability as demonstrated in Afghanistan..that may explain the IA's interest in the Apache.

Edited by Atreides

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Boeing decided to refuse to submit a proposal for the Apache since their request for an eight-week extension to the last August deadline has not been heeded. The extension was needed to submit a proposal which meets all the requirements of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

 

Boeing sounds like a broken record. On how many programs are they going to request an extension for? Seems the other companies had no problems with getting their proposals in on time.

 

I'm for the American products, but Boeing's on time track record over the past few years is horrible. They do it to themselves, but it affects many more.

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Boeing sounds like a broken record. On how many programs are they going to request an extension for? Seems the other companies had no problems with getting their proposals in on time.

 

 

The last line states otherwise to a degree as in they really want to go for the Boeing Longbow.

 

The move to cancel the ongoing process and announce a renewed procurement effort in the near future is clearly intended to offer Boeing a second chance, and the outcome of any new “competition” is already clear.
Edited by Atreides

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WIth LM getting contract for supply of 6 C-130J Hercules & Boeing getting the contract for supply of 8 P-8I MPA, surely the govt wants to give American companies a preference. The govt is sick of Russian blackmailing over the Gorshokov issue. The IAF was to acquire 6 more IL-78s from Russia, but now has apparently decided to acquire 6 A-330 tankers to instead of them.

 

Senior Defence Ministry officials confirmed that a 1-billion euro contract for six Airbus A-330 multi-role tanker-transports is close to being finalised. This despite the makers of the Russian IL-78 tanker, six of which the IAF has in service, offering a lower bid.

The IAF chose Airbus for its larger fuel load and its dual transport capability

 

Airbus Military head of product marketing for Airbus derivatives, Roy Sanders, says at the Aero India airshow in Bangalore that India has been offered the A330-200-based MRTT in a similar, three-hose configuration to that being acquired by the UK as part of its FSTA programme.

Sanders adds that he expects India, like the UK, to utilise the aircraft as cargo transports, as well as for air-to-air refuelling.

 

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Good for the Indians, especially with the A-330. After reading various defence mag it's clear that the Russians were taking the Indians for granted (from the customer perspective) once they finally get it that the Indians will shop elsewhere with the change in Indo/U.S relationship and a stronger economy that India can afford to do so they might change their attitude.

Edited by Atreides

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I was going to refrain from bringing up the KC-767/KC-330, but it seems that the Airbus has become the tanker of choice. Another of Boeing's plans gone under.

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I was going to refrain from bringing up the KC-767/KC-330, but it seems that the Airbus has become the tanker of choice. Another of Boeing's plans gone under.

 

 

I havn't been following Boeing's military side that closely, but aside from the tanker fiasco what exactly has Boeing been doing "wrong" Since you're in the forces therefore know more about their military business, in what sense has the company been dropping the ball ? (Truly curious)

Edited by Atreides

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I think Boeing has been moving too slowly. To get anything done takes them years. The delay in the K767 programs for Japan and Italy, the 787, the 747-8, on and on. I think the 777 was their last big hit. It seems buying out McD in the mid-90s really didn't help them, other than giving them things like the C-17 and F/A-18 contracts.

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The Jedi Master hit it pretty well on the head. They slow roll everything. Everyday I look out across our ramp and see two Italian KC-767s, Italy 1 and 4. They're 2 years behind their delivery schedule.

 

In the very first tanker contract deal, Boeing hired Darleen Druyun (and her family members) after she gave them the initial contract for the KC-X, before allowing other companies to submit a bid.

 

On the second go, Boeing took their time and even requested extra time for their tanker proposal and still lost to Airbus. On this one, they filed a complaint, resulting in the cancellation of the winning aircraft.

 

In all of this, who loses? The people actually needing the equipment in the field.

 

With the C-17, their Long Beach plant was turning out aircraft faster than planned, so the USAF order was filled in less time than they estimated. Boeing began crying to the USAF that if they don't buy more aircraft, they would be forced to shut down the line. Luckily the CAF, RAAF and RAF bought aircraft. They are still asking for more aircraft to be purchased.

 

As JM alluded to, the 787 is also behind by at least a year or more. This week, I read that Delta has canceled their order for the Dreamliner.

 

Acquiring Mac-Air should have been a huge money pot for them. Instead, their decision makers are putting them out of contention with each failed bid.

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