Indian defense forces will purchase around 1,000 helicopters under multibillion dollar deals by the end of this decade. India wants to buy around 450 Light Utility helicopters to replace the the French-origin Chetak and Cheetah helicopters from the Indian air force, Indian army and Indian navy.

India will purchase Contract for this will be signed by the end of this year. Earlier deal with Eurocopter for Light Utility Helicopters (LUHs) was terminated in December 2007 by the Indian Defence Ministry.

Indian Army will get 135 Light Utility Helicopters from total of 197 Light Utility Helicopters and rest will be purchased for the Indian Air Force. Indian aircraft manufacture Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is also developing a similar helicopter and it is likely to get order for the remaining requirement of Light Utility Helicopters.

Indian Navy also wants to purchase Light Utility Helicopters (LUHs) to replace its Chetak helicopters which were inducted three decades ago.

Indian Navy is looking for Twin Engine Helicopters which can provide added survivability to the crew in maritime zone. Indian Navy will use these Helicopters both for shore-based and offshore operations.

India also hopes to purchase 12 helicopters for the VVIP use to transport head of state and ministers.

On the anti armor and close support front India is looking to purchase 22 heavy gunship helicopters to be used along with the Russian Mi-35 and Mi-25 gunship helicopters. For this deal US is offering latest version of its AH-64D Apache frontline attack helicopter and Russians have offered their latest Mi-28 gunship helicopter.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is also developing Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) for the lower tier requirement of gunship helicopter. It is estimated that India will purchase around 200 of these LCH once the development is complete to meet the requirements of the Indian air force and Indian army.

Indian will soon start the induction of 139 Mi-17 military transport helicopters and process will complete within two to three years. First 80 Mi-17 military transport helicopters will be used to expand the current fleet and remaining will be used as a replacements for the aged helicopters which needs to be phased out in the near future.

India is also looking to replace its Russian produce Mi-26 Heavy military Transport Helicopters by purchasing 15 Heavy military Transport Helicopters. For this tender Russians are offering the new version of the world’s most capable and proven Mi-26 Heavy Military Transport Helicopters and US is offering its Twin Rotor Chinook CH-47D Heavy Military Transport Helicopter.

In next couple of months, Indian Navy will start the competition to purchase 16 Multirole Helicopters (MRF). USA is offering its Sikorsky-70B helicopters to the Indian navy and it will compete with the European NH-90 helicopters for the contract.


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