The Indian Navy's Helicopters and purchases plans

Aashish

PARIKRAMA
Staff member
Administrator
Nov 30, 2017
389
1,816
India
Indian Navy Purchase of Sikorsky Seahawks On Again?
After years of procrastination over selecting a new naval multi-role helicopter (MRH), the Indian Ministry of Defence may still make an interim purchase of up to 24 Sikorsky S-70B Seahawkss. This follows repeated appeals by the Indian Navy to hasten the program, given the state of its aging and depleted Sea King fleet and its ambitions to become a "Blue Water Navy." India recently issued a new request for information (RFI) for 123 MRHs to perform anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), electronic intelligence-gathering, and search and rescue (SAR). These helicopters would be procured and produced according to Delhi’s "Make in India" policy.

However, “The Navy wants these [24 S-70Bs] yesterday,” a senior official told AIN. The performance of the Seahawk has been accepted by the service, following trials. But previous and extended commercial negotiations with Sikorsky failed at agreeing on price, with the American company refusing to extend its bid and take account of the depreciation of the Indian currency against the U.S. dollar over the past nine years.

Now, the Indian government is considering procuring 16 S-70Bs plus eight options via the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) procedure.

With elections due in 2019, the Indian government is keen to preserve its "clean" image, and opting for an FMS would help achieve that. As a senior American government official testified to the U.S. Congress in June, “Demonstrating to the public that an acquisition is free of corruption is a significant selling point of the FMS system. Moreover, FMS provides a total-package approach, including sustainment, technical support, training, and software/hardware updates," said Tina Kaidanow, acting assistant secretary, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.

Designed to perform ASW and ASuW missions, the S-70B will be configured to meet the Indian Navy’s specific and unique operational needs, said Lockheed Martin. They will include a weapons management system that integrates an advanced sonar, 360-degree search radar, modern air-to-surface missiles, and torpedoes for the ASW role. “The S-70B aircraft also will enhance the Indian Navy’s capabilities to perform non-combat maritime roles, including search and rescue, utility and external cargo lift, surveillance and casualty evacuation,” Lockheed Martin added in a statement.


Indian Navy Purchase of Sikorsky Seahawks On Again?
 
Last edited:

Parthu

Gessler
Team StratFront
Dec 1, 2017
931
1,826
24
Vizag, India
After years of procrastination over selecting a new naval multi-role helicopter (MRH), the Indian Ministry of Defence may still make an interim purchase of up to 24 Sikorsky S-70B Seahawkss. This follows repeated appeals by the Indian Navy to hasten the program, given the state of its aging and depleted Sea King fleet and its ambitions to become a "Blue Water Navy." India recently issued a new request for information (RFI) for 123 MRHs to perform anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), electronic intelligence-gathering, and search and rescue (SAR). These helicopters would be procured and produced according to Delhi’s "Make in India" policy.

However, “The Navy wants these [24 S-70Bs] yesterday,” a senior official told AIN. The performance of the Seahawk has been accepted by the service, following trials. But previous and extended commercial negotiations with Sikorsky failed at agreeing on price, with the American company refusing to extend its bid and take account of the depreciation of the Indian currency against the U.S. dollar over the past nine years.

Now, the Indian government is considering procuring 16 S-70Bs plus eight options via the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) procedure.

With elections due in 2019, the Indian government is keen to preserve its "clean" image, and opting for an FMS would help achieve that. As a senior American government official testified to the U.S. Congress in June, “Demonstrating to the public that an acquisition is free of corruption is a significant selling point of the FMS system. Moreover, FMS provides a total-package approach, including sustainment, technical support, training, and software/hardware updates," said Tina Kaidanow, acting assistant secretary, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.

Designed to perform ASW and ASuW missions, the S-70B will be configured to meet the Indian Navy’s specific and unique operational needs, said Lockheed Martin. They will include a weapons management system that integrates an advanced sonar, 360-degree search radar, modern air-to-surface missiles, and torpedoes for the ASW role. “The S-70B aircraft also will enhance the Indian Navy’s capabilities to perform non-combat maritime roles, including search and rescue, utility and external cargo lift, surveillance and casualty evacuation,” Lockheed Martin added in a statement.


https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-.../indian-navy-purchase-sikorsky-seahawks-again

The Navy's helicopter requirements are among the most crucial for the foreseeable future. Without modern helos, surface combatants are operating sub-optimally, there's no point in procuring LHDs if there are no choppers to put on them. Unlike that of most Navies in the world, the IN's latest destroyers & frigates are designed to accommodate 2 large helicopters instead of 1 - procuring new helos means we can fully leverage that inherent design advantage.

This is what the Navy's helicopter procurement plans are currently looking like:

123 x Multi-Role Helicopters (MRH) -- we already selected the S-70B-2 in the previous tender (over the NHIndustries NH90) so I'm fully in favor of going FMS for the entire 123 order, not just the 24. Get Tata to locally manufacture the Sea Hawks. Could be one way to take the pressure off the Single Engine Fighter Make In India (SE MII) program and yet manage to keep Lockheed & US happy (Sikorsky is a Lockheed subsidiary):



111 x Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH) -- A competition is necessary for this requirement, as we hadn't selected any previous offer for this role. My personal preference is for the Airbus Helicopters AS565MB/MBe Panther. Although end of the day, the winner would be decided based on who turns out to be the lowest bidder - I can't help but think giving out MRH and NUH contracts to US (and on our side, Tata alone) is not the way to go. With Airbus in play, we have a chance to let Mahindra Aerospace emerge as a player in the production of rotary-wing aircraft (Airbus has a tie-up with Mahindra) as well. Two private players are better than one - creates competition, and competition breeds competence :



25 x HAL Dhruv ALH...ordered in an interesting 8 + 16 + 1 order iteration. Had the potential to do a lot more (maybe even grab the whole 111 NUH order) if not for certain issues with non-availability of powered rotor-folding mechanism, and being somewhat "non-flexible" with regard to increasing fuel capacity (increasing range) among other issues. We had made versions of the Naval Dhruv with a SAR radar in the nose before, but it couldn't reach fruition. As of now and for the future, Dhruv could be taking advantage of it's relatively small form factor to execute more menial roles (transport etc.):



What no one has talked about officially so far, but something that I'm convinced will be an actual requirement, is the procurement of still larger helicopters (12 tons or above) dedicated for usage on the 4 planned Multi-Role Support Vessels (MRSVs aka LHDs). Why not just use the Sea Hawks you might ask. I'll tell you why - carrying capacity. The Sea Hawk can carry about as many passengers on board as a Dhruv (about a dozen at most). But when you're talking about providing airlift for the hundreds of marine infantry that could travel in the LHDs, you can't have choppers that can only lift about 11-12 people at a time. That's a waste of resources - and could represent a significant bottleneck in the rapid airborne deployment of marine infantry from ship to land, where the fighting is.

What's needed are helicopters with larger cabins, which can seat anywhere between two dozen (24) to 30 passengers at least. That gives us twice the troop airlift capacity of a Sea Hawk, while taking up only marginally more space than the Sea Hawk in the Hangar deck.

Internationally, only choppers with at least this level of seating capacity are preferred for airborne troop deployment from any kind of Amphibious Dock. Let it be from US (CH-53, CH-46, MV-22), UK (Chinook) or France (Cougar). Note that I'm not saying only 12+ ton choppers will be put on IN's MRSVs - of course other choppers would also be employed according to requirement, but when airlift is the case in point, I'd say we need helos in the class of Airbus H225M (previously known as Eurocopter EC725 Caracal):



...Sikorsky S-92 (militarization along the lines of Canadian Navy CH-148 Cyclone):



...or, depending on the time-frame of procurement, the HAL Naval-IMRH makes for an excellent option. I guess HAL sensed this need a while ago and has marketed the IMRH as a chopper for all services, straight from the get-go:



How many such ~12 ton choppers we might need? I'd say we could start with 24 or 32....and increase from there.

Would love to hear your views @Hellfire @randomradio @PARIKRAMA
 

Ashwin

Agent_47
Staff member
Administrator
Nov 30, 2017
4,254
6,927
Bangalore
Any decent sized surface warship in today's navy has the capability to host at least one navalized helicopter if not more. The steady accretion in the Indian Navy's (IN's) surface fleet therefore naturally also means that there is a need to augment the number of ship-borne helicopters in its inventory. Besides, the Navy in any case has ever expanding roles and responsibilities which translate into requirements for greater rotary capability.
To that end, IN has been looking to bring in new utility and multirole helicopters in order to both replace legacy units as well as increase the overall number of such machines under its ambit while simultaneously introducing new technology. It would therefore be worthwhile to take a closer look at the status of various helicopter tenders issued by the IN as well as the opportunities for domestic industry therein.
The Navy has actually been running a competition for 16 naval multirole helicopters (NMRH) since 2011 with the request for information (RFI) being issued in July that year. The two down-selected contenders in the fray are a maritime variant of the European-built NH90 known as the NATO frigate helicopter (NFH) from NH Industries and an export variant of the US-made SH-60 Seahawk from Sikorsky called the S-70B. Despite the trials for the $1.2 billion contract with the winning bidder required to deliver all helicopters within 46 months of contract signing in three phases were completed in 2011 itself, this tender has actually been delayed more than once with the latest slippage happening in mid-2013 when the Ministry of Defence (MOD) asked both finalists to extend the validity of their bids by another six months in July 2013.
Problems started in early 2012 itself with this particular tender when in a letter to the MOD, NH Industries claimed that competitor Sikorsky's entry may not actually be technically compliant with certain parameters laid down in the Navy's request for proposal (RFP) unless the S-70B helicopter had been granted waivers for the same. IN however stated in the media that NH Industries was looking to mislead MOD and cause delays by raising unreasonable concerns. As far as IN is concerned both helicopters have met naval staff qualitative requirements (NSQRs) for a multi-role chopper with its primary missions consisting of anti-submarine (ASW) and anti-surface warfare(ASuW) and secondary roles such as search and rescue (SAR), transport, casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) etc.
The cut throat competition probably arose on account of the fact that the RFP also stipulated that IN would have the option of placing orders for another 44 helicopters, on completion of the contract for the initial 16. Furthermore it was widely expected throughout 2012 that a follow on tender for another 75 units would be issued that year.
Finally, in early 2013, IN issued a global RFI for more NMRH which probably went further than what most expected given that it was for 123 units , making it the largest such tender for multirole helicopters anywhere in the world. The stakes naturally are higher than ever before now.
The latest postponement of the opening of commercial bids for the initial tender however means that even if the contract were to be sewn up within this fiscal i.e 2013-14 the first helicopter cannot be delivered before 2015-16 at the earliest.
Moreover, a global RFP worth 6-8 billion U.S dollars to follow the new RFI for 123 NMRH in the 9 to 12.5-tonne maximum take-off weight (MTOW) class is likely to be issued which is attracting interest from a wider set of contenders including Lockheed Martin with its MH-60R/S (which shares its airframe with the S-70B), Eurocopter with its EC 725 Caracal and Russian Helicopters with Kamov products and perhaps even AgustaWestland with one of the navalized variants of the AW-101 Merlin.
One of the other reasons why the initial 16 unit contract may be delayed relates to the contenders being reluctant to discharge offset obligations in their entirety. However this is a little strange, at least in the case of Sikorsky which is already getting complete S-92 helicopter cabins built in India by Tata Advanced Systems Limited which involves the local manufacture of some 5000 components. What is more, it was believed that given the degree of commonality between the S-92 and the S-70, the latter was always a front runner for the NMRH contract.
Meanwhile, IN is also looking around for an upgrade partner for its existing fleet of 30 odd Agusta Westland Sea King helicopters. The situation in this arena is also a little tricky because a 2008 proposal to bring on board Israeli companies for the upgrade package was vehemently opposed by AgustaWestland and it remains to be seen how the Navy plans to execute the upgrade this time around.
As such the proposed upgrade package mainly includes new composite main rotor blades, five AMLCD cockpit Displays (two primary flight displays and three multi-function displays), an automatic flight control system (AFCS), twin AHRS for providing aircraft attitude and heading information to the cockpit display and AFCS. It is understood that IN is seeking an almost similar upgrade package for some six Kamov Ka-25 helicopters as well. As an aside, the integration of DRDO's SV-2000 radar with some Kamov units is also being carried out.
Beyond the NMRH tender, IN is of course also looking to replace its current holding of Chetak and Cheetah helicopters with a new naval utility helicopter (NUH). The procurement process for NUH actually began even before the NMRH competition with the RFI being issued way back in 2010. Since then this project has seen another RFI being issued in 2011 followed by a RFP in 2012 for 56 NUH (with 28 additional options) at a total cost of around a billion US dollars. The latest RFP specifies that in addition to 56 choppers, three simulators, 28 spare engines and associated equipment are to be delivered within eight years of contract signature.
Moreover, as per the RFP, NUH can have a MTOW of 4.5 tons, should be capable of being armed 70mm rocket launchers, 12.7mm guns, lightweight torpedoes as well as depth charges. It must have 'a modern airframe design, proven fuel-efficient engines and fully-integrated advanced avionics'.
NUH will be used for both shore-based and offshore operations by IN and should be able to operate from ship decks in all-weather day and night conditions. Interestingly IN also wants the NUH to be able to operate from surfaces covered by snow, sleet, sand, water and slush.
Now the 2012 RFP had been issued to all global majors with NUH contenders being Eurocopter's AS565 MBe Panther, Agusta Westland's AW-109LUH, and offerings from US-based Bell and Kamov of Russia.
However, the AgustaWestland scandal has probably had an impact on this tender since MOD stated in April 2013 that only two companies had responded to the RFP and one of them was AgustaWestland with the other being Eurocopter. If AgustaWestland ends up being blacklisted over the VVIP helicopters scam then IN may be left with a veritable single vendor situation which may lead to the whole process being scrapped and re-tendered.
Meanwhile, even as the Navy explores international options, it has again begun inducting more home grown helicopters as well. In November 2013, IN inaugurated its first Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Dhruv unit, INAS 322, shore-based in Kochi under the Western Naval command which besides conducting SAR operations will also be used for heli-borne insertions and armed patrol with night vision devices. In fact the Dhruv has been cleared for night time SAR as well. The rekindling of IN interest in the Dhruv probably stems from heightened requirements in the arena of low intensity maritime operations and coastal security post 26/11. Further delays in the NUH tender is also bringing HAL's own light utility helicopter (LUH) project into play whose development will be completed by 2015.
HAL probably could expect more from the Navy if it moves forward quicker on the Indian Multirole Helicopter (IMRH) project. The IMRH as the name implies is a project to build a domestic multirole helicopter in the 12 ton MTOW category with a maximum speed of 275kmh, maximum payload of 3.5 tons at sea level , 500 km range at sea level and service ceiling of 6500 metres. Interestingly the very same companies that are responding to the NMRH tender are also those who are in talks with HAL for collaborative purposes on the IMRH.
For instance, Sikorsky may be open to co- producing up to 400 multi-role helicopters with HAL if one of its designs were to be chosen as the basis for developing IMRH, which could garner orders of more than 300 units from the services alone by 2030. The IN with its stated aim of fielding 200 ships by that time is likely to be a major customer for IMRH.
In the years to come, it is quite clear that IN will continue to grow into a very substantial air force in its own right and rotary requirements will become bigger than what they are projected to be even now. Given the level of spend being envisaged it is important that India's domestic aerospace sector identifies the right strategy to capitalize on IN's rotary plans.

December 30, 2013

The Indian Navy's helicopter plans and purchases - Saurav Jha’ Blog
 

Aashish

PARIKRAMA
Staff member
Administrator
Nov 30, 2017
389
1,816
India
Procurement Plan

- 123 naval multi-role helicopters (NMRHs) with anti-submarine warfare capabilities
- 111 armed light naval utility helicopters (NUHs).


Oct 31 , DAC accorded approval - AoN for 111 NUH . 16 flyaway and 96 to be in MII under a JV with TOT

Competition hots up with Airbus AS565 Panther light naval helicopter and a new variant of the AgustaWestland AW109 LUH (if the ban on the company is lifted).

Airbus is expected to be in front in this...

The Naval Multi-Role Helicopters otoh contains the following:
  • The twin-engine helicopter will have two variants: NMRH (multi-role) and NMRH (special operations).
  • The multi-role chopper will be used for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, search and rescue, electronic intelligence and casualty evacuation.
  • The special operations variant will perform roles including transporting commandos, anti-piracy operations, combat search and rescue, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) and logistics and communication duties.
  • The 12.5-tonne helicopters, capable of operating from ships and ashore, will have wheeled landing gear, dual flying controls and blade fold capability.
  • In line with the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, the vendors have been asked to maximise the indigenous content of the NMRH. The navy has stipulated it should not be less than 40 per cent.
  • The helicopter must be capable of night missions.
  • The navy has also asked manufacturers if it is possible to install weapons of its choice in lieu of those proposed by them. It wants two types of anti-ship missiles: Long-range fire and forget missile with 70-km range and short-range missile with a range of 25 km.

S70 B will be infront with LM Tata doing bulk of the work under MII. decision to be out soon
 

RATHORE

Lion of Rajputana
Dec 2, 2017
1,552
1,949
USA
The Navy's helicopter requirements are among the most crucial for the foreseeable future. Without modern helos, surface combatants are operating sub-optimally, there's no point in procuring LHDs if there are no choppers to put on them. Unlike that of most Navies in the world, the IN's latest destroyers & frigates are designed to accommodate 2 large helicopters instead of 1 - procuring new helos means we can fully leverage that inherent design advantage.

This is what the Navy's helicopter procurement plans are currently looking like:

123 x Multi-Role Helicopters (MRH) -- we already selected the S-70B-2 in the previous tender (over the NHIndustries NH90) so I'm fully in favor of going FMS for the entire 123 order, not just the 24. Get Tata to locally manufacture the Sea Hawks. Could be one way to take the pressure off the Single Engine Fighter Make In India (SE MII) program and yet manage to keep Lockheed & US happy (Sikorsky is a Lockheed subsidiary):



111 x Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH) -- A competition is necessary for this requirement, as we hadn't selected any previous offer for this role. My personal preference is for the Airbus Helicopters AS565MB/MBe Panther. Although end of the day, the winner would be decided based on who turns out to be the lowest bidder - I can't help but think giving out MRH and NUH contracts to US (and on our side, Tata alone) is not the way to go. With Airbus in play, we have a chance to let Mahindra Aerospace emerge as a player in the production of rotary-wing aircraft (Airbus has a tie-up with Mahindra) as well. Two private players are better than one - creates competition, and competition breeds competence :



25 x HAL Dhruv ALH...ordered in an interesting 8 + 16 + 1 order iteration. Had the potential to do a lot more (maybe even grab the whole 111 NUH order) if not for certain issues with non-availability of powered rotor-folding mechanism, and being somewhat "non-flexible" with regard to increasing fuel capacity (increasing range) among other issues. We had made versions of the Naval Dhruv with a SAR radar in the nose before, but it couldn't reach fruition. As of now and for the future, Dhruv could be taking advantage of it's relatively small form factor to execute more menial roles (transport etc.):



What no one has talked about officially so far, but something that I'm convinced will be an actual requirement, is the procurement of still larger helicopters (12 tons or above) dedicated for usage on the 4 planned Multi-Role Support Vessels (MRSVs aka LHDs). Why not just use the Sea Hawks you might ask. I'll tell you why - carrying capacity. The Sea Hawk can carry about as many passengers on board as a Dhruv (about a dozen at most). But when you're talking about providing airlift for the hundreds of marine infantry that could travel in the LHDs, you can't have choppers that can only lift about 11-12 people at a time. That's a waste of resources - and could represent a significant bottleneck in the rapid airborne deployment of marine infantry from ship to land, where the fighting is.

What's needed are helicopters with larger cabins, which can seat anywhere between two dozen (24) to 30 passengers at least. That gives us twice the troop airlift capacity of a Sea Hawk, while taking up only marginally more space than the Sea Hawk in the Hangar deck.

Internationally, only choppers with at least this level of seating capacity are preferred for airborne troop deployment from any kind of Amphibious Dock. Let it be from US (CH-53, CH-46, MV-22), UK (Chinook) or France (Cougar). Note that I'm not saying only 12+ ton choppers will be put on IN's MRSVs - of course other choppers would also be employed according to requirement, but when airlift is the case in point, I'd say we need helos in the class of Airbus H225M (previously known as Eurocopter EC725 Caracal):



...Sikorsky S-92 (militarization along the lines of Canadian Navy CH-148 Cyclone):



...or, depending on the time-frame of procurement, the HAL Naval-IMRH makes for an excellent option. I guess HAL sensed this need a while ago and has marketed the IMRH as a chopper for all services, straight from the get-go:



How many such ~12 ton choppers we might need? I'd say we could start with 24 or 32....and increase from there.

Would love to hear your views @Hellfire @randomradio @PARIKRAMA


Excellent comment. Totally agree, and absolutely loved the thorough breakdown + large amount of info (especially regarding the requirements and tenders).
 

RATHORE

Lion of Rajputana
Dec 2, 2017
1,552
1,949
USA
Procurement Plan

- 123 naval multi-role helicopters (NMRHs) with anti-submarine warfare capabilities
- 111 armed light naval utility helicopters (NUHs).


Oct 31 , DAC accorded approval - AoN for 111 NUH . 16 flyaway and 96 to be in MII under a JV with TOT

Competition hots up with Airbus AS565 Panther light naval helicopter and a new variant of the AgustaWestland AW109 LUH (if the ban on the company is lifted).

Airbus is expected to be in front in this...

The Naval Multi-Role Helicopters otoh contains the following:
  • The twin-engine helicopter will have two variants: NMRH (multi-role) and NMRH (special operations).
  • The multi-role chopper will be used for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, search and rescue, electronic intelligence and casualty evacuation.
  • The special operations variant will perform roles including transporting commandos, anti-piracy operations, combat search and rescue, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) and logistics and communication duties.
  • The 12.5-tonne helicopters, capable of operating from ships and ashore, will have wheeled landing gear, dual flying controls and blade fold capability.
  • In line with the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, the vendors have been asked to maximise the indigenous content of the NMRH. The navy has stipulated it should not be less than 40 per cent.
  • The helicopter must be capable of night missions.
  • The navy has also asked manufacturers if it is possible to install weapons of its choice in lieu of those proposed by them. It wants two types of anti-ship missiles: Long-range fire and forget missile with 70-km range and short-range missile with a range of 25 km.

S70 B will be infront with LM Tata doing bulk of the work under MII. decision to be out soon


When is the approval expected for the NMRH? And what is the reason for approving one tender but not the other?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Aashish

RATHORE

Lion of Rajputana
Dec 2, 2017
1,552
1,949
USA
Not unexpected.

Indian navy to boost its firepower, to purchase 24 multi-role choppers

The navy is trying to modernise its ageing fleet of helicopters.


Ajit Kumar Dubey
New Delhi, December 10, 2017 | UPDATED 11:14 IST
A +A -


Proposal to buy these choppers expected to be discussed in the defence ministry meeting next week

In a desperate bid to buy multi-role helicopters, the Indian Navy is moving a proposal worth over `12,000 crore to buy 24 of these choppers which would be deployed for anti-submarine warfare as well as operations by its Marine Commando (MARCOS) special forces.
"We have moved a proposal worth `12,000 crore to buy 24 multi-role helicopters through a tender under the buy global category of the defence procurement procedure for our warships and sea-based operations," a source in the Navy told MAIL TODAY. The proposal is expected to come up for discussion during an important meeting of the defence ministry scheduled to be held next week under defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the source said.
The move has come at a time when the defence ministry was forced to retract a more-than nine-year tender to purchase choppers from American firm Sikorsky Corporation due to very high price and the refusal of the firm to extend its contractual validity in view of the long acquisition process.
After the contract was scrapped, the navy was trying to procure the choppers from American firm under the Foreign Military Sales programme, but it is learnt that the defence ministry put its foot down as it wants a multi-vendor competition in all defence deals to avoid monopolistic situations.
In almost all the single-vendor cases, the vendors increase the price of their products manifold while trying to bypass the procedures given under the defence procurement rules. Once the proposal is cleared, the navy will issue a global request for proposal in which the American firm Sikorsky and European firm Airbus Helicopters are expected to participate.
In the previous tender, the navy had wanted to buy 16 choppers but now it wants to go for 24 choppers in view of the increased responsibilities in its area of operations. Some navy officers claimed that the force was in a bad condition as its old Seaking multi-role choppers were getting older and its warships were operating without multirole choppers.
The navy also has plans of issuing an international tender for purchasing 123 Naval Multirole Helicopters (NMRH) which would allow it to deploy one chopper each on all of its warships. Navy officers claimed that recently when the MARCOS were operating in the Gulf of Aden in thwarting a piracy bid, they felt restricted while taking action against a group of pirates who ran away from the site.
The defence ministry has already given a go-ahead to the maritime force to purchase 111 naval utility helicopters for its requirement to replace its vintage Cheetah/Chetak choppers.

Original Link: Indian navy to boost its firepower, to purchase 24 multi-role choppers
 

ashkum2278

Member
Dec 4, 2017
24
20
New Delhi
Not unexpected.

Indian navy to boost its firepower, to purchase 24 multi-role choppers

The navy is trying to modernise its ageing fleet of helicopters.


Ajit Kumar Dubey
New Delhi, December 10, 2017 | UPDATED 11:14 IST
A +A -


Proposal to buy these choppers expected to be discussed in the defence ministry meeting next week

In a desperate bid to buy multi-role helicopters, the Indian Navy is moving a proposal worth over `12,000 crore to buy 24 of these choppers which would be deployed for anti-submarine warfare as well as operations by its Marine Commando (MARCOS) special forces.
"We have moved a proposal worth `12,000 crore to buy 24 multi-role helicopters through a tender under the buy global category of the defence procurement procedure for our warships and sea-based operations," a source in the Navy told MAIL TODAY. The proposal is expected to come up for discussion during an important meeting of the defence ministry scheduled to be held next week under defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the source said.
The move has come at a time when the defence ministry was forced to retract a more-than nine-year tender to purchase choppers from American firm Sikorsky Corporation due to very high price and the refusal of the firm to extend its contractual validity in view of the long acquisition process.
After the contract was scrapped, the navy was trying to procure the choppers from American firm under the Foreign Military Sales programme, but it is learnt that the defence ministry put its foot down as it wants a multi-vendor competition in all defence deals to avoid monopolistic situations.
In almost all the single-vendor cases, the vendors increase the price of their products manifold while trying to bypass the procedures given under the defence procurement rules. Once the proposal is cleared, the navy will issue a global request for proposal in which the American firm Sikorsky and European firm Airbus Helicopters are expected to participate.
In the previous tender, the navy had wanted to buy 16 choppers but now it wants to go for 24 choppers in view of the increased responsibilities in its area of operations. Some navy officers claimed that the force was in a bad condition as its old Seaking multi-role choppers were getting older and its warships were operating without multirole choppers.
The navy also has plans of issuing an international tender for purchasing 123 Naval Multirole Helicopters (NMRH) which would allow it to deploy one chopper each on all of its warships. Navy officers claimed that recently when the MARCOS were operating in the Gulf of Aden in thwarting a piracy bid, they felt restricted while taking action against a group of pirates who ran away from the site.
The defence ministry has already given a go-ahead to the maritime force to purchase 111 naval utility helicopters for its requirement to replace its vintage Cheetah/Chetak choppers.

Original Link: Indian navy to boost its firepower, to purchase 24 multi-role choppers

In case the F-16 deal does not go through, then we can expect orders to go to US for NMRH, This would be the best way forward, as 17 billion for admission to US Gang is way too much, specially when they don't add any thing credible to our Air Arm worth righting about. Buying US NMRH would be the right way forward, as we would not be buying anything of immense strategic value from them (Potus/US cannot be trusted). The copters would be part of the naval support arm.
 

Manmohan_MMY

Premiera
Nov 30, 2017
325
104
Space Time
In a desperate bid to buy multi-role helicopters, the Indian Navy is moving a proposal worth over `12,000 crore to buy 24 of these choppers which would be deployed for anti-submarine warfare as well as operations by its Marine Commando (MARCOS) special forces.

"We have moved a proposal worth `12,000 crore to buy 24 multi-role helicopters through a tender under the buy global category of the defence procurement procedure for our warships and sea-based operations," a source in the Navy told MAIL TODAY. The proposal is expected to come up for discussion during an important meeting of the defence ministry scheduled to be held next week under defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the source said.

The move has come at a time when the defence ministry was forced to retract a more-thannine-year tender to purchase choppers from American firm Sikorsky Corporation due to very high price and the refusal of the firm to extend its contractual validity in view of the long acquisition process.

After the contract was scrapped, the navy was trying to procure the choppers from American firm under the Foreign Military Sales programme, but it is learnt that the defence ministry put its foot down as it wants a multi-vendor competition in all defence deals to avoid monopolistic situations.

In almost all the single-vendor cases, the vendors increase the price of their products manifold while trying to bypass the procedures given under the defence procurement rules. Once the proposal is cleared, the navy will issue a global request for proposal in which the American firm Sikorsky and European firm Airbus Helicopters are expected to participate.

In the previous tender, the navy had wanted to buy 16 choppers but now it wants to go for 24 choppers in view of the increased responsibilities in its area of operations. Some navy officers claimed that the force was in a bad condition as its old Seaking multi-role choppers were getting older and its warships were operating without multirole choppers.

The navy also has plans of issuing an international tender for purchasing 123 Naval Multirole Helicopters (NMRH) which would allow it to deploy one chopper each on all of its warships. Navy officers claimed that recently when the MARCOS were operating in the Gulf of Aden in thwarting a piracy bid, they felt restricted while taking action against a group of pirates who ran away from the site.

The defence ministry has already given a go-ahead to the maritime force to purchase 111 naval utility helicopters for its requirement to replace its vintage Cheetah/Chetak choppers.

SOURCE : Indian navy to boost its firepower, to purchase 24 multi-role choppers
 

ashkum2278

Member
Dec 4, 2017
24
20
New Delhi
Airbus Helicopters offers to transfer Panther Helicopters Know-How to India

We will transfer know-how so that the helicopters are made in India, so much so, that even upgrades, maintenance and modifications are done there.”
A FORCE Report


Marignane, France: Airbus Helicopters has offered its Panther helicopter for the Indian Navy’s 111 Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH). According to Airbus Helicopter Director, Make in India, Fabrice Cagnat,”ToT is very important. We are the only OEM with the most extensive experience in ToT. We will not send dismantled aircraft for assembly but will transfer know-how so that the helicopters are made in India, so much so, that even upgrades, maintenance and modifications are done there.”

He, however, added that, “the biggest challenge will be the L-1. The company would prefer the decision to be based 40 per cent on technical capability and 60 per cent on L-1 but we respect the Indian DPP process and will abide by it.”

This is because Panther, a 4.5 ton machine has good growth potential. It’s not a big aircraft, but has big capabilities. It can carry two torpedoes and fire them and can also integrate new age torpedoes referred to as intelligent torpedo. It can also have dipping sonar and is both multi-utility and multi-role along with a long range.

There are several contenders for this programme including the US, Russia and Airbus Helicopters.

The DAC on October 31 has given the Acceptance of Necessity (AON) for the 111 NUHs and the Indian Navy Chief, Admiral Sunil Lanba, has said in his press conference on December 1 that the contract is expected to be signed in the first quarter of 2018.

Since 15% of the helicopters are in flyaway condition, Airbus Helicopters will create the manufacturing line in India. This will cater to both local and global markets.

“Our intention is to make India the manufacturing facility for the Panther helicopters, provided we win the contract, ” said Cagnat. He further underscored that the company will manufacture whole frames in India among other components.

Airbus Helicopters intends to have a JV with Mahindra Defence. “It was to be created to respond to RFP under the buy and Make Indian process. Now that we are under the strategic partnership scheme, we hope that Mahindra Defence is selected as the strategic partner”. The Director-Make in India position was created in August 2015, when the partnership with Mahindra was created.

Cagnat commented on the other ‘Make in India’ programmes too. There are essentially three programmes: RSH (for which Kamov has got a first batch), NUH (for which we offer the Panther) and the NMRH (for which we propose the H225M helicopter). The Indian Navy also wants to buy 24 MRHs (maritime reconnaissance helicopter).

“In NMRH, some (about one-third) will be special operations platforms. The H225M has mission flexibility and can change configuration depending upon the role,” Cagnat remarked that the OEM selection for the MRH will impact the NMRH programme because that OEM will be in the better position in the NMRH competition too.

Source

Airbus Helicopters offers to transfer Panther Helicopters Know-How to India
 
  • Like
Reactions: Parthu

dadeechi

Active member
Dec 11, 2017
189
132
HYD
Indian navy to boost its firepower, to purchase 24 multi-role choppers

The navy is trying to modernise its ageing fleet of helicopters.



Ajit Kumar Dubey

New Delhi, December 10, 2017 | UPDATED 11:14 IST

A +A -

Proposal to buy these choppers expected to be discussed in the defence ministry meeting next week

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 1
    Indian navy is trying to decrease its dependence on old choppers in its fleet
  • 2
    It seeks to procure better choppers with an aim that each warship has one chopper associated with it
  • 3
    After several unsuccessful attempts at procuring choppers, the navy has renewed its efforts
In a desperate bid to buy multi-role helicopters, the Indian Navy is moving a proposal worth over `12,000 crore to buy 24 of these choppers which would be deployed for anti-submarine warfare as well as operations by its Marine Commando (MARCOS) special forces.
"We have moved a proposal worth `12,000 crore to buy 24 multi-role helicopters through a tender under the buy global category of the defence procurement procedure for our warships and sea-based operations," a source in the Navy told MAIL TODAY. The proposal is expected to come up for discussion during an important meeting of the defence ministry scheduled to be held next week under defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the source said.
The move has come at a time when the defence ministry was forced to retract a more-thannine-year tender to purchase choppers from American firm Sikorsky Corporation due to very high price and the refusal of the firm to extend its contractual validity in view of the long acquisition process.
After the contract was scrapped, the navy was trying to procure the choppers from American firm under the Foreign Military Sales programme, but it is learnt that the defence ministry put its foot down as it wants a multi-vendor competition in all defence deals to avoid monopolistic situations.
In almost all the single-vendor cases, the vendors increase the price of their products manifold while trying to bypass the procedures given under the defence procurement rules. Once the proposal is cleared, the navy will issue a global request for proposal in which the American firm Sikorsky and European firm Airbus Helicopters are expected to participate.
In the previous tender, the navy had wanted to buy 16 choppers but now it wants to go for 24 choppers in view of the increased responsibilities in its area of operations. Some navy officers claimed that the force was in a bad condition as its old Seaking multi-role choppers were getting older and its warships were operating without multirole choppers.
The navy also has plans of issuing an international tender for purchasing 123 Naval Multirole Helicopters (NMRH) which would allow it to deploy one chopper each on all of its warships. Navy officers claimed that recently when the MARCOS were operating in the Gulf of Aden in thwarting a piracy bid, they felt restricted while taking action against a group of pirates who ran away from the site.
The defence ministry has already given a go-ahead to the maritime force to purchase 111 naval utility helicopters for its requirement to replace its vintage Cheetah/Chetak choppers.

Indian navy to boost its firepower, to purchase 24 multi-role choppers
 
  • Like
Reactions: Avi
T

Tarun

India puts forward new plan to buy helicopters after ending talks with Lockheed
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
By: Defense News



After suspending negotiations with Lockheed Martin in April over the price of 16 naval multirole helicopters, India’s Ministry of Defence has mooted a fresh plan for acquiring 24 helicopters for about $1.87 billion.

A high-priority global tender will now be floated instead to source the 24 helicopters off the shelf to meet a pressing need within the Indian Navy, according to an MoD official.

Negotiations with Lockheed were terminated following expiry of the price bid in March, and subsequently the tender was withdrawn in April, he said.

Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky S-70B was selected over NHIndustries’ NH90 helicopter in 2011 in a global tender issued by the Indian Navy in 2009 for 16 naval utility helicopters at a cost of $1 billion.

The service asked the MoD in July to consider procuring the helicopters from the U.S. under the Foreign Military Sales program, a senior Indian Navy official said.

However, the request was turn down because Indian procurement procedures do not allow for single-supplier preference but instead prefer global competitions through which weapons or platforms are selected based on lowest price.

Commenting on delays in India’s defense procurements, a CEO of a foreign defense company, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “MoD must adhere to a strict timeline in selecting the platform and awarding [defense] contracts, otherwise it will lead to huge cost escalation and even the cancellation of the program itself.”

India’s ruling National Democratic Alliance is now kick-starting all major defense programs under the Strategic Partners policy, which is expected to enhance indigenization by cutting imports and boosting exports, according to a second MoD official.

Under this program, 123 naval multirole helicopters costing about $7 billion in the 9- to 12.5-ton categories will be manufactured by a domestic private company with technology transfer from an overseas helicopter original equipment manufacturer.

The helicopters will be built by a private company at a facility in India. The company will be selected though a separate, robust competition requiring technology collaboration with a foreign OEM.

However, no private Indian company has ever built a helicopter platform, but rather only supplied subsystems.

In the next three to four months, an expression of interest will be issued to several private companies including Bharat Forge Limited, Reliance Defence, Larsen & Toubro, Mahindra Aerospace, and Tata Advanced Systems. The company will be selected on its financial and technical merits, production track record, and infrastructure capabilities.

Likewise, one OEM will be selected based on the technology transfer offer and option for building indigenous technology, building an industrial ecosystem and providing training support.

Both the OEM and the strategic partner will be selected separately by the MoD.

The ministry has already received an initial response to an August request for information from foreign OEMs such as Lockheed Martin, Airbus Helicopters and Russian Helicopters, the second MoD official said. The final selection will take at least three to five years, and the helicopters will be rolled out in about 10 years.

Source: India puts forward new plan to buy helicopters after ending talks with Lockheed
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ashwin

Ashwin

Agent_47
Staff member
Administrator
Nov 30, 2017
4,254
6,927
Bangalore
India puts forward new plan to buy helicopters after ending talks with Lockheed
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
By: Defense News



After suspending negotiations with Lockheed Martin in April over the price of 16 naval multirole helicopters, India’s Ministry of Defence has mooted a fresh plan for acquiring 24 helicopters for about $1.87 billion.

A high-priority global tender will now be floated instead to source the 24 helicopters off the shelf to meet a pressing need within the Indian Navy, according to an MoD official.

Negotiations with Lockheed were terminated following expiry of the price bid in March, and subsequently the tender was withdrawn in April, he said.

Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky S-70B was selected over NHIndustries’ NH90 helicopter in 2011 in a global tender issued by the Indian Navy in 2009 for 16 naval utility helicopters at a cost of $1 billion.

The service asked the MoD in July to consider procuring the helicopters from the U.S. under the Foreign Military Sales program, a senior Indian Navy official said.

However, the request was turn down because Indian procurement procedures do not allow for single-supplier preference but instead prefer global competitions through which weapons or platforms are selected based on lowest price.

Commenting on delays in India’s defense procurements, a CEO of a foreign defense company, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “MoD must adhere to a strict timeline in selecting the platform and awarding [defense] contracts, otherwise it will lead to huge cost escalation and even the cancellation of the program itself.”

India’s ruling National Democratic Alliance is now kick-starting all major defense programs under the Strategic Partners policy, which is expected to enhance indigenization by cutting imports and boosting exports, according to a second MoD official.

Under this program, 123 naval multirole helicopters costing about $7 billion in the 9- to 12.5-ton categories will be manufactured by a domestic private company with technology transfer from an overseas helicopter original equipment manufacturer.

The helicopters will be built by a private company at a facility in India. The company will be selected though a separate, robust competition requiring technology collaboration with a foreign OEM.

However, no private Indian company has ever built a helicopter platform, but rather only supplied subsystems.

In the next three to four months, an expression of interest will be issued to several private companies including Bharat Forge Limited, Reliance Defence, Larsen & Toubro, Mahindra Aerospace, and Tata Advanced Systems. The company will be selected on its financial and technical merits, production track record, and infrastructure capabilities.

Likewise, one OEM will be selected based on the technology transfer offer and option for building indigenous technology, building an industrial ecosystem and providing training support.

Both the OEM and the strategic partner will be selected separately by the MoD.

The ministry has already received an initial response to an August request for information from foreign OEMs such as Lockheed Martin, Airbus Helicopters and Russian Helicopters, the second MoD official said. The final selection will take at least three to five years, and the helicopters will be rolled out in about 10 years.

Source: India puts forward new plan to buy helicopters after ending talks with Lockheed
If they are going for 24 S-70B through FMS then this RFI will be retracted and reissued with reduced numbers. This may be the reason for the delay in giving DAC clearance for this tender while NUH already got it.
 
Dec 4, 2017
238
411
France
Its a stupid decision in my opinion, if they decide to go through with it. are the MoD officials brain dead??

This new competition requires the MRH OEMs to compete with each other again, and the winner will be chosen after the trials, after which contract negotiation takes place. Then another tender has to be launched to decide the MII partner for rest 100 helos.

Instead of cancelling the 124 MRH tender, why not go ahead with the competition and evaluations (will take the same amount of time regardless of the total number ordered) and then have two separate contracts drawn up, one for 24 fly-aways negotiated at a faster pace and then followed by a second contract for MII which obviously will take more time to complete!!

The first fly-away helo might even arrive well before the 2nd contract is signed.
 

GuardianRED

Call Sign "RED"
Dec 2, 2017
508
397
If they are going for 24 S-70B through FMS then this RFI will be retracted and reissued with reduced numbers. This may be the reason for the delay in giving DAC clearance for this tender while NUH already got it.
Let say the S70B is purchased through FMS (hope this happens ASAP).

Then why the need to re-issue the RFI? . Doesn't make sense to have a tender and evaluation and they make the decision (worst case) where the other platform is selected! (non S70B), resulting multi frames same Role
 

Ashwin

Agent_47
Staff member
Administrator
Nov 30, 2017
4,254
6,927
Bangalore
INDIA’S MRH SAGA – A BLUE WATER NAVY WITHOUT MULTIROLE HELICOPTERS

Introduction
The Indian Navy has been looking for a replacement for its ageing Seaking helicopters for many years now. Seaking Mk 42B has for long been the mainstay of our airborne Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) operations. These machines have served the navy with distinction since eighties. But the long years in service without any upgrades have rendered its avionics and sensors obsolescent. The older Seaking Mk 42 and 42A were retired from active service almost two decades years ago. A case was therefore moved in the new millennium for a suitable replacement for the Seaking Mk 42 / 42A helicopters and came to be known as the case for 16 Multi Role Helicopters (16 MRH).
Integral Helicopters for Indigenous Warships
Meanwhile, the Indian Navy has made vast strides in modernization and indigenisation. Warships from Projects 15, 15A, 17, 17A, 28, Fleet Tanker etc have been rolled out consistently year on year. All these ships have sanction and provision for one or two integral helicopters. Then there are bigger decks like aircraft carrier Vikramaditya, Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) and Landing Platform Docks (LPD) which would also have their own helicopter squadrons. In 2008, the total helicopter requirement of all these ships was aggregated by the navy in a massive case for over 120 MRH. The other services had their numbers too. For economies of scale, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) directed that long term helicopter requirements of all three services be examined as a tri-service project named ‘Indian Multi Role Helicopter’ (IMRH). Quite predictably, the MoD quietly let slip the IMRH project into the hands of public sector aerospace giant Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and they started their parleys with potential partners to pursue the project through a co-development, co-production route. With diverse requirements of all three services threatening to stall their plans and lessons learnt from the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) project still fresh, the Navy steered a separate project titled Naval MRH (NMRH).
Fleet replacement programs come with their own pitfalls and have large lead times. Each service therefore soft-pedalled the IMRH case and evolved alternative strategies to ensure survival of ongoing, smaller helicopter programs. To an extent, the IAF and Indian Army were successful in their efforts and inked contracts for medium lift helicopters, attack helicopters, ALH etc while partaking in IMRH discussions noncommittally.
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
As on date, Indian warships bristle with latest radars, sensors and weapons. MiG 29K fighters thunder off the carrier Vikramaditya’s decks, naval fighter pilots train on Hawk AJTs, a naval satellite is up in space while our indigenous nuclear submarine is out at sea. But we are no closer to inducting the MRH so vital to our navy. And it’s not going to change for a long time as I see it.
Taking into account recent developments, my estimate is that it may take another 10-15 years before the NMRH flies off our decks. It could even take longer if we do not redraw our priorities and evolve new strategies. Recent news reports indicate that the Navy’s much vaunted tender for 16 MRH has been scrapped. After almost a decade of confabulation, bids, technical evaluations and field evaluation trials that eventually saw the Sikorsky S70B Seahawk emerge as the sole contender, we are back to square one. A “partial ban” was imposed by the Defence Acquisition Council in 2014 on Finmeccanica, the parent company of Agusta Westland which was embroiled in a VVIP helicopter kickback controversy with the Indian MoD. That eliminated the other contender NH-90 NFH (developed by European consortium NH Industries and fielded by Agusta Westland for the 16 MRH program).
In Aug 2015, then Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar tabled a written reply in Parliament that the price escalation was not found acceptable by the 16 MRH Contract Negotiation Committee. As per news reports, contract negotiations have now been terminated with the only remaining contender as the commercial bid was way above our benchmarked price and neither side was willing to relent.
This is yet another case of ‘operation successful but patient dead’. It takes two to tango and even the companies who were in fray would not be without their culpability for the deal falling through.
A Critical Void
In any operation at sea today, modern multirole helicopters are the crucial eyes, ears and long arm of the fleet. The only platform that can strike fear in a submarine Captain’s mind is the fleet’s integral air element of anti-submarine helicopters. For a country like ours with neighbours who are consolidating their fleets with potent submarines, lack of capable MRH in adequate numbers is a critical capability gap that is ever-widening even as we continue to rollout indigenous warships. When the balloon goes up, without helicopters these ships will be playing blind man’s buff in waters where submarine holds the advantage.
To put things in perspective, we inducted the Seakings in 1987 – roughly 20 years after the Royal Navy did (1969). The contract for Merlin – RN’s Seaking replacement – was awarded in Oct 1991 and entered service in 1999. Twenty years later, our Seaking replacement program is still on paper. In 2006, the Merlin Capability Sustainment Program (MSCP) began to create 30 upgraded Merlin Mk 2s to keep the RN helicopter fleet up to date. Having inherited our bureaucracy from the British, one would think we should have fared better than them.
Naval Helicopter Cases in Disarray
Diligent staff in Naval Headquarters have been drafting plans that have repeatedly come a cropper in the byzantine corridors of MoD (Navy) where there is full authority and zero accountability. See the state of our key helicopter programs that are languishing at various levels:
  • The Advanced Light Helicopter (Dhruv) failed to meet navy’s expectations due to ship integration issues and challenging tri-service specifications riding on a 5.5-ton class helicopter.
  • The much-awaited case for replacing ageing Chetaks (Alouette IIIB, 1960s vintage) with Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH) that started in 2008 has returned to pre-RFP stage.
  • A mid-life upgrade (MLU) case for the Seaking Mk 42B ASW helicopters which progressed till Field Evaluation Trials (FET) was shelved after the navy and OEM Agusta Westland fell out on proprietary issues.
  • The I/NMRH program runs the risk of getting stuck in bureaucratic quagmire if a clear strategy is not evolved to navigate through all kinds of vested interests that will be at play in this big-ticket project. Most of these helicopters are required by the navy as of yesterday but the project remains on paper as on date.
  • A contract for mid-life upgrade of ten ASW Kamov-28 helicopters was finally signed in 2016 after meandering for over ten years. This is probably our only naval helicopter upgrade program that is ‘on track’ as we speak. It is quite likely that some of the ships that originally carried these helicopters may either be decommissioned or have little residual service life left by the time the helicopters return from upgrade – the cost of dithering over minor issues.
Bureaucratic Logjam
There are thousands of reasons why cases can run aground in the MoD. Bureaucrats sitting on either sides of the divide have mastered the art of sending back files with notations rather than building consensus or working out a coherent strategy to get the Services what they need. Even a single query raised on file can set a case back by a few months. And here we have had more than a fair share of setbacks.
What is the Way Forward?
Collectively, all stakeholders must shoulder the blame for this state of affairs. Here are a few quick suggestions to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself:
For Indian Navy:
  • All cases start with laying down specifications in broad terms. While writing down Naval Staff Qualitative Requirements (NSQR), please reflect on the consequences they may have on the project in the long term. What use perfect NSQRs which get us nowhere? Many RFPs had to be withdrawn and some resulted in single vendor situation because of NSQRs that were untenable.
  • Ensure the right people are selected for the job. Directorates that handle such projects require staff with expertise in multiple fields that include rich operational experience, technical knowledge, and exposure to military grade testing and certification, among others. They should grasp underlying principles of aerospace and be able to interpret and apply them to acquisition work – a sort of expert-generalist – the new age term. Not everybody fits this bill.
  • Avoid frequent change of key members involved in the project (typical of any navy where we have to ‘move places to go places’) so that continuity is not lost at critical junctures.
  • Link key ship projects to multirole helicopter acquisitions wherever you can. Today we have the KM-31 AEW helicopters because they came with the Krivak Class stealth frigates. The UH3H helicopters, however old, came with the Jalashwa (ex-USNS Trenton). The MiG 29K fighters came with INS Vikramaditya. But no MRH came with any major ship program because we delinked ships and helicopters and continued working in silos.
  • Prices of defence weaponry have always been nebulous. Hence the need for great care and rationalisation in benchmarking – a task where we are still evolving. Where required, employ specialists and rationalise costing models relevant to our context. Who can deny the hidden costs of doing business in India?
For Ministry of Defence
We have renamed organisations without bringing about real change. The ‘Integrated Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence’ is a misnomer as even lessons learnt by other services remain closely guarded secrets. There is no knowledge transfer across acquisition directorates of the three services and the Ministry has done little to facilitate this. That is the biggest weakness. Then there are others:
  • Please wake up and smell the coffee. Even if you don’t listen to the Navy, there are enough think tanks around Delhi who will tell you the sheer frailty of acquiring bigger and bigger ships without ASW helicopters while our adversaries keep arming themselves to the teeth with better submarines.
  • Please put a better policy in place because the present one is not delivering the results in time. Please take a relook at our L1 policy. It has ensured nothing but ruin for armed forces procurements.
  • Fleet replacement projects require ‘subject matter experts’ and cross-functional leadership over teams that must work to a common purpose. Some of your bureaucrats need to get off their high horses and work alongside our uniformed officers and men towards that common purpose. We need people like ‘Metro Man’ E Sreedharan.
  • Do not watch on smugly when the services procrastinate. Maybe they need your help. Do not disassociate yourself from individual services’ projects. Most projects keep lurching from one crisis to another due to lack of policy direction from higher levels.
  • Allow greater autonomy to each service. Encourage them to work through smaller numbers. Do not blow up every case into a balloon destined to burst. Don’t needlessly bunch together tri-service requirements in the name of economies of scale. We are the only armed force in the world that operates helicopters from sea level to super high altitude. There are peculiar challenges only we face.
  • Mandate the use of project management models. Treat each case as a project with defined timelines and fix accountability. Have frequent reviews. If timelines are not met, heads must roll, even if they belong in the Ministry.
  • Review policies frequently. If it doesn’t work, crack the whip. If you cannot make it work, re-strategize. Think of the navy as something you own.
  • Stop being so risk-averse and don’t cull a case because somebody made a mistake or received kickbacks. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. We have worked very hard to reach where we are. Future generations may find this effort futile and not worth their time if every case is seen to be floundering.
  • Beware the tendency to govern by dropping jargon and catchphrases like the DPP, IMRH, SPP etc. It’s not working if it doesn’t deliver the goods in time.
For Defence PSUs and Private Sector in Defence
  • Learn to say no. Do not make open-ended promises with no understanding of what it may entail.
  • Under the garb of indigenisation, do not throw a spanner into every acquisition case by fielding imaginary products and capabilities that are yet to be developed. Till the Strategic Partnership model was enunciated by erstwhile Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar, no proposal could be finalised without defence PSUs having their say (and their way). This does immense damage while filling critical capability gaps.
  • Look beyond the immediate numbers. We are at the base of the curve as far as helicopters in India are concerned. Be willing and able to absorb some shocks in the larger scheme of things.
  • Foreign companies who hire veterans to embellish their chances at winning with the Indian MoD must contend with the disadvantage of borrowing wisdom from a source which is itself depleting. Don’t believe tall claims blindly. Run your numbers and do frequent audits to see if your proposals are viable in the long term.
  • If you lose, don’t cry foul. Refine your strategy. Do not resort to subterfuge to scuttle cases. Indians can have a notoriously elephantine memory.
  • Do not keep asking for concessions and waivers to staff requirements. They have been frequently revised and fine-tuned. If the NSQRs still challenge you, improve your product.
A Grim Situation and Nobody is Culpable?
Ultimately, the most striking feature of our process which leaves us with no MRH is that nobody is answerable and accountable for the mess we are in. A navy which boasts of blue water capability and sails on modern warships alongside the best navies in the world is left launching the 1960s Alouette IIIB and 80s’ Seakings which have far outlived their useful lives during multilateral ‘Flyex’ serials. Most ships do not have helicopters. Our adversary will analyse this very carefully.
The Strategic Partnership model recently announced by the NDA government is undoubtedly a positive step towards self-reliance in defence manufacturing, should it work. But is this a solution for capability gaps that existed as of years ago? I leave that to the readers. Worse if it becomes another name dropping exercise with no defined outcomes.
When a patient is dying, is it a good idea to insist on indigenising antidotes that already exist in the world?


India’s MRH Saga – A Blue Water Navy without Multirole Helicopters