Govt shortlists Boeing for procuring heavy-lift choppers

Boeing Chinook helicopter

The government has shortlisted American aircraft manufacturing firm Boeing, with its Chinook helicopter, for procuring 15 heavy-lift choppers for Indian Air Force, Defence Minister A K Antony told Rajya Sabha today. In a written reply to the House, he said the cost of contract will depend on outcome of contract negotiation with the company.

"In the proposal initiated by IAF for procurement of 15 heavy-lift helicopters, Boeing with Chinook helicopters has emerged as the L-1 vendor. The cost of contract would depend upon outcome of contract negotiation with the L-1 vendor, which has yet not been concluded," Antony said.

The Field Evaluation Trials for these helicopters conducted by IAF have found them to be compliant with all the stated Air Staff Qualitative Requirements (ASQRs), he said.

Replying to a separate question on purchase of 197 Light Utility Helicopters (LUH), Antony said the procurement is under examination.

He was asked whether the Ministry deferred its decision of purchasing 197 LUHs after allegations of demand of kickback of Rs 25 crore was levelled on it.

"The Ministry has not deferred its decision of purchasing of 197 LUHs and the procurement case is under examination. The Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) lays down stringent guidelines to effect utmost probity and transparency in procurement transactions," the Defence Minister said.

Antony also denied that these choppers were to be procured from Italy.

"It is not a fact that these helicopters were to be purchased from Government of Italy. In the context of an allegation against one service officer, as appearing in the media, information has been sought from the Government of Italy," he said.

In reply to a question on purchase of VVIP helicopters and Defence Ministry's request to External Affairs Ministry to ask the United Kingdom to find out role of middlemen in it, Antony said the matter has been taken up with the UK government.

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