India has confirmed its purchase of 15 Boeing Chinook CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters for the Indian Air Force (IAF), sealing the fate of the Russian Mi-26T.
Both the helicopters had qualified for technical trials and it is understood the CH-47F scored on lifecycle costs, a vital ingredient in all request for proposals released by India.
‘The cost of the contract will depend upon the outcome of the contract negotiation with the L1 vendor [lowest bidder], which has not yet concluded,’ defence minister AK Antony announced in parliament on 5 December.
The field evaluation trials for the CH-47F helicopters conducted by the IAF ‘have found them to be compliant with all the stated Air Staff Qualitative Requirements’, added Antony.
He said ‘divulging further details… may not be in the interest of national security’.
Boeing is expected to sign the contract by April 2013 and delivery is scheduled for completion within 54 months of signing.
The Chinook primary mission is to move troops, artillery, ammunition, fuel, water, barrier materials, supplies and equipment on the battlefield, says Boeing. Its secondary missions include medical evacuation, disaster relief, search and rescue.
Russia’s firm position in India’s arms procurement is slowly making way to a change in the geo-politics scenario as the US sets to carve a niche in the arms environment here.
India emerged as the second-largest foreign military sales customer of the US in 2011 with imports worth $4.5 billion. Boeing has also been awarded 10 C-17 transporters and 12 P8-I multi-mission maritime aircraft.
The Ministry of Defence is also in the final stages of procurement of 22 Boeing AH-64D Apache attack helicopters, in a deal valued at $1.3 billion, although a defence official told Shephard it was likely the Chinooks would be cleared before the attack helicopters as they were urgently required.