The Indian Navy's MH-60R & Naval Dhruv UHM Helicopters

This saga is unbelievable.

Believe me, when it comes to billions of dollars, whhat passes off as inefficiency and seemingly brain fades is CORRUPTION.
Airbus offers to set up global production hub in India for Panther helicopter

Chennai, Apr 15 (PTI) Eyeing Indias lucrative military modernisation programme, aerospace giant Airbus has offered to set up a global manufacturing hub for its Panther helicopter in the country if the company gets a multi-billion-dollar contract to supply a fleet of 111 naval multi-utility choppers to the Navy.

Pierre de Bausset, president and managing director of the Airbus Group in India, said the company was ready to transfer critical technology to India for the helicopter programme and discussions were underway on it with the Defence Ministry and other stakeholders.

"In the case of Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH), we will be manufacturing (it) in India not only for the Indian market but for the world as well. For customers worldwide who are interested in that model (AS565 Panther), they would get it from India," de Bausset told PTI in an interview.

He said Airbus has offered its H225M helicopter in response to the Indian Navys initial tender for 123 Naval Multi Role Helicopters (NMRH)

The Indian Navy in August last had issued a global request for information (RFI) or an initial tender for the procurement of 111 naval utility helicopters and 123 multi-role choppers under the strategic partnership model.

On Indias Make in India initiative in the defence sector, de Bausset, who was here to attend the Defence Expo, said India must focus on areas where it has strong expertise so as to ensure proper utilisation of the countrys limited resources.

"You are in a country which has limited resources and budgets. You have to do a lot... Self reliance does not mean that you have got to do everything," he said.

He said almost all leading global defence majors concentrate on investing in areas where they are confident of doing their best.

"There are a number of fields where you have achieved excellence...You have the best engineers... This is where you should put your money and be complementary to other people to do other things much better," he said.

He further said, "I am saying just optimise your budgetary money and your investment so as to shine and where you can really shine best, put your efforts there."

Talking about the governments mega plan to make India a global hub of military manufacturing, de Bausset said, "It is not going to happen with things that you do not do better than the others. It is only going to happen when you do it better than the others. Put the money where you ought to put it."

The Defence Ministry last month had come out with a draft policy which envisages achieving a turnover of Rs 1,70,000 crore in military goods and services by 2025 by promoting the domestic defence industry. The policy is likely to be finalised in the next two months.

The focus of the four-day-long Defence Expo, which ended yesterday, was to project India as a major country in military manufacturing.

On Airbuss offer to manufacture the Panther helicopter in India, he said the European major would work with Indias Mahindra and Mahindra Group for its chopper programme if the company won any of the two mega contracts.

"We are very comfortable with the Mahindras. We think alike on a number of things. They have a very good industrial track record, certainly not in building helicopters but in building things that we believe are relevant," de Bausset said.

The procurement of both categories of choppers totalling 234 would cost the government in excess of USD 15 billion, according to industry experts.

He said talks were going on with the Defence Ministry and various stakeholders on what kind of technology they are interested in.

The Panther helicopter is currently in service in 42 countries and has logged up to 5.8 million flight hours.
Airbus offers two birds for NUH program

StratPost spoke to Ashish Saraf, Vice President for Industry Development, Strategic Partnerships & Offsets at Airbus India at DefExpo 2018, last week, where he outlined their bids for the Indian Navy’s Naval Utility Helicopter (NUH) program and explained how this process was different from earlier acquisition programs.

The Indian Navy had issued a Request For Information (RFI) for the NUH program last August, under the requirements for strategic partnerships outlined in Chapter 07 of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP).

Two helicopters for the same program
Airbus India’s vice president, Ashish Saraf told StratPostthe company has offered two different models to the navy for consideration. “We have offered two helicopters for the NUH program. One is the Panther AS565 and the other is the H135M. Both these helicopters — we believe — meet the specifications that the navy has asked for and they are still in the process of preparing the SQRs (Staff Qualitative Requirements). But as far as the RFI is concerned we believe that both of them meet the requirements and for both of them, we have proposed setting up a line in India and making the Panther or the H135M right out of India in partnership with Mahindra,” he said.

But Airbus would quite like the navy to pick the Panther.

The Panther is really the one that we would like the navy to choose.​
“And the reason behind this is that it will not only meet the SQRs, but we believe it’s a much more advanced aircraft in terms of what has been requested for the Naval Utility Helicopter program. Similarly, the H135M meets the requirements, but it gets in at a level which just about meets the requirements — it will not be an advanced helicopter for NUH. And the Panther is tested by the navies of 18 countries including the U.S. Coast Guard and we think that it is certainly an advanced aircraft because such programs — they’re not programs for the short term — these are programs we’re talking about for ten fifteen twenty years and that is where — if we are to be forward-looking, Panthers would be the right aircraft,” explained Saraf.

Only one bid for the RFP
But Airbus will have to decide which of the two aircraft to bid once the eventual Request For Proposal (RFP) is issued.

“We will have discussions with the navy and we will also look at what the competition is coming up with or being proposed — and then based on that, we’ll take a call,” said Saraf.

He also said they hope the requirements of the RFP are more exacting than indicated in the RFI. “We sincerely hope that they are at levels higher than the current ones, wherein more advanced parameters are being put out in terms of payload, in terms of harpoon, in terms of torpedo-carrying capability, range, top-speed and so on, wherein aircraft like the Panther can actually be present,” he said.

Explaining the split between flyaway and domestic manufacture, Saraf said, “The good part about this is that the first ten percent is an off the shelf buy. So out of 111, we are looking at about 11 aircraft to be delivered off the shelf. That will get things started in terms of meeting the operational requirements of the navy and also getting their personnel trained and skilled to operate the aircraft. And this, I think, can kick-start the process early on as the factories are getting built and the supply is being enabled to feed the final assembly lines in India.”

Strategic Partnerships and Chapter 07 requirements
We are exploring uncharted territories — there is no question about it.​
Saraf admitted the process to implement strategic partnerships under Chapter 07 is likely to throw up challenges. “We are working very closely with the government and the customer, which is the navy to look at the addressing these challenges. I mean, we are exploring uncharted territories — there is no question about it. But in terms of planning in terms of taking the next steps, I guess, the more discussions and concrete steps only will let us learn and learn as we improve the steps. There is no silver bullet to it,” he said.

But the RFI process isn’t simple, either. Saraf said they’ve had a lot of discussions with the navy and the defence ministry on a range of issues with respect to the RFI, which will inform the setting of the SQRs in the RFP.

“We’ve had various sorts of consultations including, not only consultations on the product parameters — because that’s the most important part — but also in terms of how you look at technology transfer, how you look at pricing, not only in terms of the platform-pricing but also in terms of the life cycle cost, or the TCO — Total Cost of Ownership over an extended period of time. How do you evaluate the Enhanced Performance Parameters (EPP) in terms of such a large program?” he asked.

Elements of the RFI requirements
Saraf then launched into a veritable primer on each aspect of the process parameters.

So four parameters:
The product or the platform price,
Performance Based Logistics (PBL),
Transfer of Technology (ToT),
Enhanced Performance Parameters (EPP).
So the discussions are centered around how do we combine these factors to come up with a proposal that can create or justify all these parameters and create a winning formula.​
Enhanced Performance Parameters
Explaining the concept of Enhanced Performance Parameters, he said this is a new factor in Indian acquisition that is expected to shift the process away from a mere L1 determination.

These are nice-to-haves, if you will. We strongly believe that these should not be utilised or over-leveraged to add more equipment.​
“These should be purely performance parameters that would adhere to the product definition as such,” said Saraf, clarifying further, “What I’m trying to say is that if the SQR says one torpedo-carrying capability — the EPP should not say two torpedo-carrying capability, because then you are essentially adding a piece of equipment. If it says one torpedo-carrying capability, the EPP could reasonably mean that if the SQR says the torpedo should be 300 kilograms, then the EPP could say that it could be a 500-kilogram torpedo.”

“That is a real EPP. Or the top speed — if the SQR says 150 nautical miles, the EPP could reasonably say 180 nautical miles, for example. That becomes an enhancement on the product definition,” he emphasized.

Saraf went on to explain how Enhanced Performance Parameters would factor in the process.

“The way the EPPs are designed or are expected to be designed is that for every EPP the end customer will give due weightage. So as it stands currently, EPPs carry a weightage of ten percent overall. You cannot assign a weightage of more than 3 percent to one EPP. So you could do 3,3,3,1 (percent) or you could do 0.5 percent for twenty EPPs — it should not exceed ten percent. And each EPP will be weighed based on its weightage and that much credit will be begin to the OEM in terms of lowering the platform price,” he said, explaining further, “So for example — if we meet all the EPPs on the platform, we will be given a ten percent advantage over the competition — assuming they don’t meet any of them.”

Saraf said they were happy about this new set of data points.

This is the first time it has been introduced wherein we are saying that we will value the technology of the product and not just purely go based on L1.​
“That’s why sometimes it’s also called the L1-T1 approach, where it’s a combination of an L1 and a T1 product. We are very happy that a model like this has been considered,” he said.

If we have to add three percent to our cost to get only that one percent credit, then we would rather forego that EPP than get credit for it.​
But Saraf was also cautious about how EPP-weightage could play out. “There is fine-tuning required because there have been cases where the weightage of the EPP is sometimes lower than the cost of adding that EPP. If an EPP — let’s say — instead of a 300-kilogram torpedo, we consider a 500-kilogram torpedo — if it is three percent higher for an OEM, cost-wise — the EPP weightage given to them — it’s only one percent. So if we have to add three percent to our cost to get only that one percent credit, then we would rather forego that EPP than get credit for it,” he explained.

“So the customer certainly needs to be cognizant of the fact that what they add really provides them a technology and a cost advantage and that’s when consultations really help,” he said.

The EPP model is limited in scope, explained Saraf. Properly so, in his opinion.

“So currently — and we hope it stays this way — the EPP model applies only to the platform price. It will not be extended to the ToT or the Performance Based Logistics or the Total Cost of Ownership because the way the spares and maintenance costs are calculated is completely different and the model is different across different suppliers, so this is purely focused on weighing the product definition,” he said.

Naval Multi Role Helicopter (NMRH) program

Royal Thai Air Force H225M helicopters | Photo: Anthony Pecchi/Airbus

Airbus is also contending for the Indian Navy’s requirement for 123 Naval Multi Role Helicopters (NMRH), a program that is expected further down the road.

The RFI for the NMRH was also issued in August last year.

“We have proposed the H225M for the NMRH. It’s the same — ten percent of the shelf, 90 percent made in India using a strategic partner,” he said.

Saraf would like to see the government allow the same Indian strategic partner under the DPP’s Chapter 07 for both, the NUH and NMRH programs.

“We hope that the government combines these and allows a strategic partnership to be extended beyond one program. Because that is where economies of scale can really be achieved. Because if a strategic partner has already gone down the path of establishing helicopter manufacturing facilities in India, it will certainly be significantly better for the nation to combine them because the cost advantage will be tremendous. But at this point we do not have any indication if that will be allowed or not, so we also not be able to comment on whether we will be able to maintain the same partner or not,” he explained.
India plans to buy choppers from US

NEW DELHI:India is considering a $2-billion proposal to procure multi role helicopters for the Indian Navy through a direct government purchase from the US.

The proposal could go ahead given a critical requirement of the Navy for choppers that can undertake missions ranging from anti-submarine operations to fire support and early warning at sea. The proposal under the foreign military sales route is to purchase 24 of the advanced MH 60 ‘Romeo’ choppers that can be deployed from warships and is being considered as the fastest way to add the capability to the Navy, rather than a competition that could take years to finalise.

The last attempt to purchase these choppers was thwarted after nine years of efforts in 2016 after negotiations broke off with US manufacturer Sikorsky over differences in pricing.

The Navy requires at least 123 of the Naval Multi Role Helicopters (NMRH) and had released a global request for information for the same in August 2017. However, the proposal for 123 new choppers, has not progressed as fast as the Navy would have liked, leading to the consideration of the US offer for a direct government sale of the Romeo.

It is unclear on how this could impact the larger procurement of choppers. “An FMS procurement of MH-60R would provide the Indian Navy an expeditious avenue to obtain a proven, multi-mission maritime helicopter capability to the Indian Navy,” a spokesperson for Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the choppers said in response to a query by ET.

The US company did not directly answer queries on the status of the procurement.

The NMRH are required to replace the Sea King fleet. The Navy has flagged helicopters as one of its most critical needs at several top-level presentations before the government.
South Block officials said the Defence Acquisition Council is scheduled to meet on June 30 to give a final approval to the purchase of US Sikorsky S-70B multi-role helicopters.

While the navy needs at least 100 such multi-role helicopters, the government has decided to go for the outright purchase of 24 anti-submarine warfare helicopters from US.

There is also the possibility of India placing a follow-up order for 12 more Boeing P 8I maritime surveillance aircraft at a later stage for the Indian Navy in a bid to boost its reconnaissance capabilities on high seas, the officials added.

India set to clear $2 billion deal for US anti-submarine warfare choppers
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Rs 21,738 crore (Rs 217 billion) naval chopper to be first “strategic partner” procurement

In a statement that will be welcomed by private Indian defence firms and global “original equipment manufacturers” (OEMs), Defence Production Secretary Ajay Kumar indicated on Wednesday that the defence ministry was giving full importance to the “strategic partner” policy.

After a meeting of the US-India Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) in New Delhi, Kumar made it clear that India’s defence industry would need to partner foreign OEMs for manufacturing defence equipment in India.

He said Indian firms’ contribution towards equipping the military would have to be “in partnership with foreign OEMs to begin with.”

To provide the policy framework for such cooperation, the defence ministry had promulgated the SP Policy in May 2017. This envisaged Indian firms tying up with selected foreign OEMs to manufacture arms in India using transferred technology.

The SP Policy initially aimed at four categories of defence platforms – fighters, helicopters, submarines and armoured vehicles.

Since then, however, the defence industry has waited in vain for lucrative SP projects to be tendered. In the SP pipeline are 110 medium fighters for the air force, 123 naval multi-role helicopters (NMRH), 111 naval utility helicopters (NUH) and six conventional submarines under Project 75-I.

Defence ministry sources say the delay stems from the need to draft separate selection criteria for each equipment category. “The factors governing a submarine project are different from those in, say, a fighter or tank project. So we are drafting separate rules for each equipment category. These will be category-specific appendices to the main SP Policy,” explains a senior official.

Business Standardlearns that the first appendix, which the ministry hopes to make public by September, will deal with helicopter manufacture. That would allow the navy to start the process of building the NMRH and the NUH, for which the ministry has green-lighted an expenditure of Rs 21,738 crore (Rs 217.38 billion).

The policy framework is nearly ready for the Project 75-I submarine programme too, says a senior defence ministry official. About speculation that the contract will simply be handed to the defence public sector undertaking (DPSU) Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL), the official clarified: “MDL can certainly compete for the tender, since the SP Policy does not rule out DPSU participation. But we are committed to building the submarines under the SP route, so the private sector can compete too.”

On media reports that Moscow has approached New Delhi with a proposal for building the submarines under a government-to-government arrangement, the official said that that would not be possible, since this is an SP project.

Officials say it will take longer to finalise the SP model for fighter aircraft. However, there is time in hand since the air force would take four-six months to examine vendor responses to the “request for information” (RFI), which were submitted on July 6.

“We will have the entire policy in place soon. However, if we can finalise even one category in a month or two, it will add to our credibility and that of the SP model.

The National Democratic Alliance government is eager for some success on Make in India in defence production, which has not yet delivered results that could be held up as a success in next year’s general election campaign.

Answering a question in Parliament on Wednesday, the defence ministry stated: “During the last three years and current year (upto June, 2018) out of total 168 contracts, 106 contracts have been signed with Indian vendors.” The equipment included helicopters, radar, ballistic helmets, bulletproof jackets, artillery guns, simulators, missiles, ammunition and fuzes.

However, a significant share of the contracts signed with Indian vendors finds its way to foreign suppliers, since even ostensibly “Indian” equipment contains a large percentage of foreign components, assemblies, sub-systems and systems.

Even so, Indian private firms are keenly anticipating SP route procurements. In Parliament today, the defence ministry stated that, till June, the government had issued 379 licenses to 230 Indian private firms for defence manufacture. “Till June 2018, 70 licensed companies, covering 114 licenses, have reported commencement of production,” said the ministry.

@Abingdonboy @ankit
EU helicopters are shit.

The NH-90 is shit, the Panther is shit, the Tiger is shit.

compare that to Apache, Chinooks, and Blackhawk.
Interestingly enough, India bought 2 of them, and looks poised to get the 3rd as well (Seahawk).

Yes, American helicopters are rugged, proven, and effective. They're also going to last nearly a century.

Meanwhile the NH-90 cannot fly over water and has 22 different variants of this same helicopter.

@Bon Plan
Yes, American helicopters are rugged, proven, and effective. They're also going to last nearly a century.

Meanwhile the NH-90 cannot fly over water and has 22 different variants of this same helicopter.

@Bon Plan

The IN found the Seahawk to be the best among the contenders. It's really what the IN wants too.
EU helicopters are shit.

Everyone hating on the F-35 needs to look at the NH90 and realize that European joint development programs aren't always successful either. From day one the NH90 has been a disappointment. The F-35 is by no means the first program to over-promise and underwhelm and cost a fortune. European arms makers are no stranger to that curse either (not that I'm in any way unfavorable to the F-35. I've been more then happy to see them in Norwegian service.).

Now I do disagree that all European helicopters aren't worth a krone. The AW101 has turned out nicely while the Wildcat, for its size, offers impressive capabilities.



But the Americans and Russians make helicopters that are definitely more in demand, battle proven and capable, especially in the maritime domain. No argument from me there.
Yes, American helicopters are rugged, proven, and effective. They're also going to last nearly a century.

Meanwhile the NH-90 cannot fly over water and has 22 different variants of this same helicopter.

@Bon Plan
NH 90 cannot fly over the sea ?



Seahawk is a well proven machine. Very effective. A nice choice.
NH 90 cannot fly over the sea ?
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Seahawk is a well proven machine. Very effective. A nice choice.
Aviation Update: German Navy Helicopter not Fit to Fly over Water

More tongue in cheek than a serious point.
My poor @sunstersun....

It's probably why Eurocopter (now Airbus copter) is the first in this market.

One single helicopter in the light utility class. Honestly, European and especially the French have amazing tech. However, I'd just take this L on helicopters though. It's not even comparable.

Yes, it can fly over the sea, but do you notice how placid those conditions are? 11 years after they first entered service and Norwegian Navy NH90s still can't operate in rough sea conditions, which with the North and Barents Seas being the roughest on this planet where poor sea states are the norm, not the exception, is a really big drop off in their capabilities.

They can operate in this.


They can't operate in this.



The Sea King can. And the Lynx, which the NH90 replaced.


And these aren't my words: Rough Sea Renders Useless Norway's Soon-to-Be-Delivered Helicopters

The NH90 has not been able to perform up to its requirements.