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AgustaWestland submits bids for two military chopper tenders

New Delhi, Apr 7, 201,3 (PTI) : 11:34 IST
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Notwithstanding the prospect of being blacklisted over the VVIP chopper scam, Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland has submitted its bid for two military tenders to supply helicopters to the Navy and the Coast Guard.

The firm has submitted its response to Indian Navy's tender for procuring 56 naval utility helicopters and Coast Guard's Request for Proposal (RFP) for buying 14 medium-lift choppers, defence sources told PTI here.

In the naval tender for 56 choppers, AgustaWestland is one of the two bidders along with Eurocopter, which is offering its AS565 Naval 'Panther' helicopter.

The Navy is planning to procure these twin-engine light choppers to replace its fleet of vintage Cheetah/Chetak helicopters which are operated from warships and air bases of the force.

In the Coast Guard tender, two other companies, including American Sikorsky and Eurocopter, have also submitted their bids along the Anglo-Italian firm in response to the RFP last week.

The Coast guard, which has a fleet of Cheetah/Chetak and ALH Dhruv helicopters, is strengthening its rotary wing aerial surveillance capabilities after the 2008 Mumbai attacks and is in the process of acquiring several light and medium weight surveillance choppers.

AgustaWestland is facing the threat of being blacklisted for the alleged payment of kickbacks of Rs 362 crore by its former CEOs violating the integrity pact signed by it with the Indian government.

The Defence Ministry has already initiated the process of cancellation of the deal after the
arrest of former Finmeccanica CEO Guiseppe Orsi and former AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini by Italian investigators in connection with the case.

The Ministry has already ordered a CBI probe into the deal and is waiting for the CBI inquiry report before initiating any further action on the future of the Rs 3,600 crore deal.

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