12:00 AM, July 29, 2008
The Indian Navy is all set to strengthen its air fleet by acquiring 26 Sea King anti-submarine and troop carrying helicopters and 11 Kamov-28 choppers. The Defence Ministry will soon issue the request for proposal (RFP) to procure these 37 anti-submarine helicopters. The contract for choppers is worth Rs.14, 500 million. The ministry has finalised global tenders to acquire troop carrying and anti-submarine helicopters as well as to upgrade its fleet of Sea King and Kamov-28 helicopters, a senior naval officer said. He also said that the delivery of 12 single-seat MiG-29K and 4 two-seat MiG-29KUB would start by the year-end. They will be later deployed on the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier being refitted in Russia. The first batch of four aircraft for the Navy is likely to fly into the naval air station at Goa. The officer also said that the Navy is also looking for its own Airborne Early Warning Aircraft. The navy operates 14 Sea King and 12 Kamov anti-submarine helicopters. In addition, the Sea Kings are also used for reconnaissance, search and rescue operations, and for ferrying personnel and supplies. Meanwhile, in a major drive to modernise the armed forces and expand aviation wings of the Services, the Defence Ministry today issued a RFP to procure 197 helicopters. The proposed procurement is worth Rs.30, 000 million. The armed forces will modernise their helicopter fleet by 2010 by replacing the age-old Cheetah and Chetak, which have been in service for last 40 years.