Saturday, November 12, 2011

New Delhi: Finance objects, new choppers to be delayed

The Army and Air Force’s wait to get desperately needed replacements for the ageing Cheetah helicopters is set to get longer after objections were raised by the Finance department on the trial process. The procurement is already several months behind schedule given that field trials were completed in December last year.

Sources said the Finance department has raised objections to the trial process as one of the requirements mentioned in the request for proposals (RFP) was not verified during the trials. One particular trial required the two competing helicopters — Kamov 226 and Eurocopter AS 550 Fennec — to land at a helipad located at over 5,000 metres, stay overnight and take off the next day without external power.

However, it has now emerged that the trial was carried out by the Army at a lower elevation of around 4,000 metres. After the objection was raised, the Army explained that it did not have a helipad located at over 5,000 metres that could accommodate both choppers as well as their crew overnight.

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