It follows the withdrawal of Russian Helicopters from the bidding process

Russia has withdrawn from the $1 billion contest to supply twin-engine helicopters to the Indian Coast Guard, with the procurement now heading to a single vendor situation as there was no participation from the US side either reported Economic Times.

Sources said that the ongoing procurement process for the new twin-engine heavy helicopters for the Coast Guard now just has Airbus as the single vendor. The Coast Guard requires 14 new helicopters for a variety of offshore security and surveillance tasks.

Strangely, no American company has participated in the contest. The Sikorsky S92 meets all the technical parameters. US may offer a direct sale of Sikorsky S-92C under FMS. The Russians responded with its Kamov KA-32A11M and Airbus offering the H225M helicopter.

European Aerospace giant Airbus is now the only remaining vendor in the Coast Guard’s ongoing procurement process for a new twin-engine heavy helicopter. The Italian defence giant Leonardo could also not take a part in the contest as the ban on it has been removed by the Indian government only recently.

For a variety of offshore security and surveillance responsibilities, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) wants 14 new helicopters for which bidding had begun last year. Airbus offered its H225M chopper and Russia pitched in with the Kamov KA-32A11M.

Airbus had previously been in negotiations with the Indian Ministry of Defence in 2018 for a similar contract, then worth $300 million, to supply 14 H225M helicopters to the Coast Guard. However, negotiations broke down following a lapse in the procurement process. The protracted process of procurement – which extended well beyond the time stipulated in the defence procurement policy – seems to be the culprit always. Foreign manufacturers refused to sell equipment at prices quoted in the past, as they were no longer deemed commercially viable.

The helicopters will be used by the Coast Guard to carry out maritime security and surveillance tasks. The new helicopters will supplement the Coast Guard’s existing fleets, which includes a mixture of HAL Chetak and Dhruv rotorcraft.