Indian Army to Lease 20 Light Helicopters, MoD Issues Tender

Indian Army

New Delhi: The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has floated a tender for leasing 20 reconnaissance and surveillance Light Helicopters for a period of five years for the Indian Army.

Considering the huge increase in operational commitments on the northern borders and delays in various procurement programmes, the tender is yet another effort to procure utility helicopters.

According to the request for information (RFI) issued on July 19, the lease will be for five years and include ground support equipment and maintenance support, performance-based logistics (PBL) and training of aircrew and maintenance crew during the lease period. The MoD seeks information from helicopter Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) or authorised Indian Leasing Firms for participation in the lease project in accordance with Chapter IX of Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020, the document stated.

The helicopters should be capable of fulfilling several unique functions. These include reconnaissance and surveillance (including armed reconnaissance and aerial photography) and transporting small numbers of troops or quick-reaction teams for special missions. The helicopters must also be capable of providing directional information to artillery units, the RFI stated.

In conjunction with attack helicopters in service, such as Boeing AH-64E Apache and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Light Combat Helicopters, the helicopters should also be capable of scouting operations. The MoD also intends for the aircraft to transport an airborne forward air controller (FAC), if required. The helicopters, as combat-capable platforms, are also required to have the ability to serve as a platform for electronic support measures (ESM), electronic countermeasures (ECM), and electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM).

The helicopters should also be capable of casualty evacuation (casevac), monitoring for nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) events, and providing a “dynamic” response to civilian entities during aid and relief efforts, according to the RFI document.

After the RFI is issued, within six months the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the leasing contract will be processed and contract conclusion in accordance with the timelines mentioned in DAP 2020. According to a defence source, the Request For Proposal is expected by mid-October and focus is on speeding up the delivery timeline sooner than the two years, as mentioned in the RFI. The lease period is likely to go up to 10 years, officials said.

The Request For Proposal is expected by mid-October, a defence source said adding they are also trying to speed up the delivery timeline sooner than the two years mentioned in the RFI. While the lease period stated is five years, it is likely to go up to 10 years, officials said.

“Lessor shall also indicate the possibility of delivering all 20 helicopters within two years from the contract signing date,” the RFI said. There is a requirement of leasing 20 helicopters including ground-support equipment to operate from two bases.