Deal took off after ex-Italian Presidentís visit

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"While the CNC was progressing its discussions, Air HQ, recommended inclusion of Traffic Collusion Avoidance System (TCAS-II) and Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) for all 12 helicopters and SPG/PMO recommended inclusion of Medevac System for 8 VVIP helicopters," said the government statement.

* SPG preference for three engines favoured AgustaWestland: It has now come to light that the Special Protection Group (SPG) had made its preference for a three-engined chopper very clear before the Defence Acquistion Committee (DAC) that was to take the final decision on the selection of the winner of the contract. Sources said that after a visit to the AgustaWestland facilites, the SPG made the point to the DAC that a three- engined chopper would be safer and more reliable for VVIP travel.

The fact of the case is that the only other competitor to AgustaWestland in the deal was an American firm that had a twin-engined helicopter. The Italian report mentions that "the mediators managed to modify the original tender in a favourable way to Agusta Westland, in particular by reducing the limit of altitude so that AgustaWestland helicopters could participate, and to introduce, as a preference criterion, the capability to fly with a non-operational engine, which only Agusta helicopters had".

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