Three foreign manufacturers have submitted technical bids in response to the Express of Interest (EoI), for the Rs 21,738 Crores deal for 111 Naval Utility Helicopter (NUH).
- Airbus with two platforms - the H 145M and the Panther AS565 - with offer for manufacturing in partnership with Mahindra Defence.
- Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky has offered S 76D
- Russia Kamov has offered Ka 226T
- HAL has responded with two offers one with indigenous ALH and the other with Kamov 226T light helicopter in India under a JV with Russian Helicopters Ltd.
The technical bids will be scrutinised by the Indian Navy in about 2 months, before intensive trials start for evaluating the performance of each machine in different terrains and weather conditions. Navy is also vetting the credentials of eight Indian manufacturers who have responded to an Expression of Interest to be the local partners for the program. Visits to facilities of these domestic players – Tata Aerospace and Defence, Mahindra Defence, Reliance Defence, Adani Defence, HAL, Bharat Forge and Lakshmi Machine Works – have been made. It is expected by the last quarter of 2019, the Navy will have a shortlist of both foreign and local vendors ready to take the selection process to the next step. Once the contract is finalized, 16 helicopters will come from the OEM directly and the balance will have to be manufactured in India with almost 60 per cent indigenization.