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Indian Navy issues RFI to lease 24 naval utility helicopters

The Indian Navy (IN) has invited responses from overseas vendors by 18 June regarding its planned lease of 24 twin-engined naval utility helicopters (NUHs) and related support equipment for five years.

Despatched on 23 April to original equipment manufacturers, leasing firms, and government-sponsored export agencies, the RFI states that the IN plans to use the rotorcraft to carry out search-and-rescue and medical evacuation missions from ships and to perform communication tasks and low-intensity maritime operations (LIMO) by day and night.

Operated by two aircrew, the proposed helicopters, which must feature wheeled landing gear and foldable rotor blades, can weigh up to 5 tonnes. Each of the aircraft must be equipped with a tripod to mount a 7.62 mm light machine gun for the LIMO role, as well as with communications and identification friend-or-foe systems.

The helicopters, which are to be leased under the new provisions featured in the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020 (DAP 2020), will be required to fly 360 hours per year – or a monthly average of 30 hours – from designated IN bases on India’s eastern and western seaboards.

They will also be required to operate from other locations, including from IN ships, for a duration of not less than 180 days per year and to conduct 50 hours of “intensive operations” for two random months each year.

Furthermore, the lessor will need to ensure a 75% platform serviceability rate at all times, in addition to providing advanced maintenance and spares supplies. Operational-level maintenance, however, is to be undertaken by IN crew both ashore and aboard ships.

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