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Approval for $910-mn global tender for 14 Coast Guard long-range choppers on the cards

The Indian Coast Guard programme to acquire 14 Twin Engine Heavy Helicopters (TEHH) is finally set to take off, with the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) slated to consider approval for issuance of a Buy Global tender reportedly worth 6,500 Crore ($910.8 Million) in a meeting scheduled to be chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on November 28.

These long-rage helicopters are meant to close gaps in coastal surveillance capability exposed by the 26/11 terror attack from the sea on Mumbai in 2008. The Coast Guard is seeking helicopter endurance of over 6 hours for sustained surveillance capability to protect India’s coastline and to monitor its 2 million square km Exclusive Economic Zone. This would be a major upgrade from its current heliborne capability represented by the Chetak and Advanced Light Helicopters.

This is the second attempt of the Coast Guard to acquire these helicopters. The earlier tender was scrapped in 2018 after Airbus, which presented the winning bid with its EC-725, declined to extend the price validity any farther after having done so a reported nine times. This was also followed by allegations of wrong-doing in clinching the contract


This is the second attempt of the Coast Guard to acquire these helicopters. The earlier tender was scrapped in 2018 after Airbus, which presented the winning bid with its EC-725, declined to extend the price validity any farther after having done so a reported nine times. This was also followed by allegations of wrong-doing in clinching the contract. The Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky S-92 was the other helicopter which was considered. Both were technically compliant but Airbus submitted the cheaper bid (L1).

The aborted process was given a fresh lease of with the issuance of an RFI late 2018 for 14 TEHH for “maritime surveillance, interdiction and search and rescue operations, with the capability to stage through operations from advanced offshore patrol vessels (OPVs)”. The RFI also stipulated a capacity to lift 30 personnel.

The re-run of the competition is expected to feature an essentially similar field involving the EC-725 – now called the Airbus H225M and the S-92.

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