NEW DELHI — India has canceled yet another light utility helicopter (LUH) global tender, this time for the Navy, which has rushed to float a new request for information to domestic companies for the troubled program, said a Defence Ministry source.
The request seeks to gauge company interest in manufacturing an unspecified number of LUHs in partnership with foreign firms.
No official from either AgustaWestland or Airbus Helicopters was available to comment on the cancellation.
The Navy requires an LUH with a maximum take-off weight of 4.5 tons, and which can be used for both shore-based and offshore operations, operating from ship decks in all weather, day and night.
On Aug. 29, the MoD canceled a global tender issued in 2009 for the purchase of 197 LUHs for the Indian Air Force, in which Kamov and Airbus Helicopters were the final competitors.
A Navy official said the service is disappointed that acquisition of the helicopters has again been delayed as they urgently wish to replace the aging Cheetah and Chetak currently in use. Manufacture of the LUH domestically will add time to the process.
The Cheetah and Chetak helicopters, made by Hindustan Aeronautics under license, are 40 years old and being flown beyond their age limitations, the official said.